Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 30, 1933) is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist.
Nelson is a co-chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) advisory board. He has worked with NORML for years, fighting for marijuana legalization. In 2005 Nelson and his family hosted the first annual "Willie Nelson & NORML Benefit Golf Tournament", leading to a cover appearance and inside interview in the January 2008 issue of High Times magazine. After his arrest for possession in 2010, Nelson created the Tea Pot party under the motto "Tax it, regulate it and legalize it!".
Nelson has been arrested several times for marijuana possession. The first occasion was in 1974, in Dallas, Texas. Twenty years later, in 1994, highway patrolmen found a marijuana cigarette in his car near Waco, Texas; the resulting court appearance caused him to cancel his appearance at the Grammy awards. While traveling to Ann W. Richards' funeral in 2006, Nelson, along with his manager and his sister, Bobbi, were arrested in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana and charged with possession of marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Nelson received six months probation. On November 26, 2010, Nelson was arrested for possession of six ounces of marijuana found in his tour bus while traveling from Los Angeles to Texas. He was released after paying bail of $2,500. Prosecutor Kit Bramblett supported not sentencing Nelson to jail due to the amount of marijuana being small, but suggested instead a $100 fine and told Nelson that he would have him sing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" for the court. Judge Becky Dean-Walker stated that Nelson had to pay the fine but did not require him to perform the song, explaining that the prosecutor was joking. Nelson's lawyer Joe Turner reached an agreement with the prosecutor. Nelson was set to pay a $500 fine to avoid a two-year jail sentence with a 30-day review period, which in case of another incident would end the agreement. The judge later rejected the agreement, claiming that Nelson was receiving preferential treatment for his celebrity status, when the offense normally carried a one-year jail sentence.
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