“You remember why you started smoking, to stop them crazy fucking dreams. Those crazy dreams that you never really get used to.” – Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson arguably has one of the most recognisable names and personas in the music industry. He developed a reputation for himself in the 1960s as a notable member of the outlaw country music scene in Nashville Tennessee – a sub-genre of country music that actively protested against the mainstream sound.
Nelson had a bunch of residencies that propelled his career forward while he also worked as a radio disc jockey. He first found success as a songwriter and broke through commercially with a string of records: Shotgun Willie, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust.
Nelson remains one of the most prolific and active songwriters to have ever existed; he has continued to release one to two albums a year since his 1962 debut, …And I then I Wrote. Some may liken this sustained productivity to Willie Nelson’s habitual – bordering on ritual – consumption of marijuana. This well-known fact has led many to associate Willie Nelson affectionately as a ‘pot-head’.
Most of, if not all, of Willie Nelson’s head-turning stories, usually involve the devil’s lettuce. For example, Nelson once out-smoked Snoop Dogg in Amsterdam and lived to tell the tale. But there is another story that beats even this one.
In a tell-all interview Willie Nelson did with Chris Heath of GQ back in 2015, Nelson finally confirmed that not only did he smoke weed at the White House, but he also confirmed the person who he smoked with.
In a surprising plot twist, it wasn’t Willie Nelson who spilled the beans on his extracurricular activities at the presidential headquarters in 1980. For years, the country outlaw and king of the hippies played coy as to whether the story was true or not and if so, who exactly it was that smoked him up.
Did Willie Nelson smoke weed at the White House? Who did he smoke with? What other celebrities got away with smoking weed at the White House before? How exactly did he smoke weed at the White?
We answer all these questions below.
Did Willie Nelson smoke weed at the White House?
In the words of the country artist himself, Willie Nelson wrote in his autobiography, Willie: An Autobiography, in 1988: “Sitting on the roof of the White House in Washington, D.C. late last night with a beer in one hand and a fat Austin Torpedo in the other.”
Adding: “My companion on the roof was pointing out to me the sights and layout of how the streets run in Washington…I let the weed cover me with a pleasing cloud…I guess the roof of the White House is the safest place to smoke dope.”
There you have it, Willie Nelson did indeed smoke weed on the rooftop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Who did Willie Nelson smoke weed with at the White House?
The story goes that Willie Nelson smoked weed on the rooftop of the White House with one of President Jimmy Carter’s sons. Jimmy Carter himself, appropriately known as the ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ president, confirmed the story in Mary Wharton’s documentary. The ex-president said, “Nelson says that his companion was one of the servants at the White House. Actually, it was one of my sons.”
While it is an infamous story, Nelson does not talk about it all that often. “Well, I don’t really go around bragging about that. It happened, and it’s something that I don’t deny, you know, but I don’t bring it up all the time,” he said.
President Carter’s son, Chip Carter, the man who smoked weed with the country-outlaw, confirmed the story as well: “We just kept going up ’til we got to the roof, where we leaned against the flagpole at the top of the place and lit one up.’ If you know Washington, the White House is the hub of the spokes — the way it was designed,” he said.
“Most of the avenues run into the White House. You could sit up and could see all the traffic coming right at you. It’s a nice place up there,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
How did Willie Nelson smoke weed at the White House?
Willie Nelson is good friends with former President Jimmy Carter, for who he has performed for several times.
During an interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN, Nelson recalled how he initially met Jimmy Carter: “Well, we ran into each other when he was running for president, maybe before that, I don’t know because he’s been coming out to my shows for years – him and Rosalyn – and they always sing the gospel songs with me. So I’m not sure how long it’s been, but it’s been quite a while.”
Willie Nelson ended up visiting the former President at the White House frequently. “Jim and I would jog together, we would hang out. His son and I would hang out together at the White House. We had a lot of fun,” Nelson added to Cooper.
When asked about how the pot-smoking incident unfolded, Nelson explained: “I don’t know. Chip and I are buddies too. He was showing me around the White House. We went into the basement and they had a bowling alley down there. We went into the Lincoln bedroom and all that good stuff.”
In Nelson’s 1988 autobiography, Nelson originally wrote that he had smoked weed with a servant of the White House to protect the identity of Chip Carter, despite it being Chip who would eventually tell others about it.
Initially, when it was explained this way, it would seem that Nelson was the culprit behind what some may consider the nefarious undertaking, but in actuality, it was a harmless thing to do. Eventually, Chip Carter came forward and confirmed that it was, in fact, he who offered Nelson the joint.
Nelson added, “And then we went onto the roof and looked around and that was pretty cool,” he said coyly.
While this interview happened recently in 2020, during the one with GQ, Nelson was more direct. According to the country singer, Chip Carter said, “Think it’s time to burn one, Willie, if you don’t object.”
Nelson replied, “Think it’s cool?” To which Carter then said, “If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be offering.”
What other musicians have smoked weed at the White House?
A fellow proponent of marijuana and famous rapper, Snoop Dogg allegedly smoked weed in the bathroom of the White House during Barack Obama’s presidency.
In an interview with famous TV host Jimmy Kimmel, the rapper was asked to confirm this alleged incident after he hinted at it on his Youtube channel GGN: The Double G News Network.
Snoop Dogg replied, “I said to the CIA ‘Look when I do a number two, I usually use a cigarette, or light something to get the aroma right’ and they told me, ‘Well, you know what, you can light a piece of napkin,’ and the napkin was this,” Snoop Dogg answered Kimmel as he lit up and smoked what looked like a joint.
Luckily, President Obama was not present at the White House at the time.
Is it true that Willie Nelson smoked weed with Snoop Dogg?
Turns out, this isn’t the only connection that Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson have, never mind the fact that they both proudly wear the badge of the copious weed smoker.
Unsurprisingly so, they both ended up in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, at the same time once, where they decided to see who could out-smoke who.
Can you guess who won?
It was Willie Nelson who not only out-lasted Snoop Dogg but was used four different methods of smoking weed, which is what allegedly did Snoop Dogg in. Considering the players involved, one could only marvel at the degree of how much they were in fact smoking.
“I’ll try any of them,” Willie Nelson said to GQ, adding, “Whatever way you can smoke it or take it, I’m for it.”
Which U.S Presidents are known to have smoked weed?
Former President, Barack Obama said, “We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.”
While Former President Obama is not the only American leader who one would imagine would take more of a lax view on marijuana (Obama has said that he smoked a lot in his youth), when one thinks of a U.S President, one is inclined to picture a stand-up gentleman with a short haircut, a military veteran, and one who frowns upon drug-taking of any kind.
It may surprise some to know that weed smoking has been around for a long time. To put things in perspective, a Chinese Empress, Dowager Cixi, who died in 1861, was found buried with a few of her favourite marijuana pipes.
Even more surprisingly, some of the American founding fathers who went on to become the Presidents of the United States were alleged weed smokers. Here are some of them.
The United States’ very first President, George Washington was supposedly a user of marijuana. He grew hemp as well, and wrote in his diary: “Began to separate the male from female plants rather too late…Pulling up the (male) hemp. Was too late for the blossom hemp by three weeks or a month.”
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were also proponents of hemp, and as a result, were avid hemp farmers.
Among other Presidents who were known to smoke weed, were John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.