Willie Nelson Launching New Marijuana Brand, Shops Called Willie's Reserve

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The first shops are aimed to open in Colorado, Washington and Alaska next year.

Willie Nelson's well known for toking up, but now he's making plans to help others do so too. And in the process, he stands to make a buck. 

Nelson and his family are at work on a new brand of marijuana and stores called Willie's Reserve, which the budding company's spokesperson compared to Whole Foods for weed in a recent interview with The Daily Beast

According to veteran hemp and pot lobbyist Michael Bowman, speaking on behalf of Willie's Reserve, the shops will include signature strains as well as others' strains that are grown to meet quality standards. 

"Let's just call it the anti-Walmart model," he said. "Personally, internally, that's what we call it. A certain standard by which growers have to account for carbon and such, in a way that empowers small growers who are doing the right thing."

He continued, "It will be like when you walk into a Whole Foods store. Whole Foods has their 365 brand, or you can buy Stony Brook, or you can buy Horizon… It'll all fall under that umbrella of 'here’s our core beliefs, and here's our mission statement,' and they will be a part of that, to be a part of us."

Bowman said they're looking to the next calendar year to open shops in states where voters have legalized marijuana, such as Colorado, Washington and Alaska. 

Nelson won't be the first musician to get into the burgeoning cannabis business. Recently Bob Marley's estate announced the reggae icon will front a new premium brand of weed and Cypress Hill's B Real is in the process of opening his own medical marijuana dispensary in Southern California's Orange County. 

When pressed on the 81-year-old Nelson's actual involvement in Willie's Reserve, Bowman put deeper significance on it than just a new business venture. 

"This is a culmination of Willie’s vision and his whole life," he said. "I'm not sure any of us could have predicted how fast the dominoes would start falling once they started falling (as far as legalization). And you have the men like Willie who's been out there getting arrested, standing up saying what’s right and not wavering from that core."

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

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