With midterm elections heating up in Texas, country music legend and longtime cannabis advocate Willie Nelson has thrown his weight behind Democratic Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke, who will hold a rally at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas on September 29. The event has made a big splash, primarily because Willie Nelson will be headlining the rally.
This isn’t the first time Nelson has publicly supported the Democratic politician. In fact, Nelson invited O’Rourke onstage during his annual Fourth of July picnic earlier this summer. During the party, Nelson and O’Rourke played together on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away.”
According to a statement released by Nelson, it is rare for him to be so public and open about supporting politicians and their campaigns. So rare, in fact, that this is the first time he has ever played a free, public concert for a politician.
“My wife Annie and I have met and spoken with Beto and we share his concern for the direction things are headed,” Nelson said. “Beto embodies what is special about Texas, an energy and an integrity that is completely genuine.”
Tickets to the rally are free. But in order to get in, you’ll need to reserve tickets on O’Rourke’s website. Along with Nelson, the event will include Joe Ely, Tameca Jones, and Carrie Rodriguez, among others.
Willie Nelson and Beto O’Rourke: Cannabis Advocates
While Nelson didn’t specifically mention cannabis, it is certainly one area where the two figures seem to align.
Nelson has been one of the most outspoken advocates of marijuana in recent history. In particular, he has been one of only a few country music stars to be so outspoken about his love of cannabis.
Nelson’s involvement with weed extends far beyond his own personal use. He also advocates for marijuana on the political scene. And more recently, he has moved into the legal cannabis industry as a businessperson.
His brand, Willie’s Reserve, sells his own signature line of cannabis in a number of weed-legal states. Initially, the brand rolled out in Washington and Colorado. Then, a short time later, his strains started selling in Oregon and Las Vegas. Now, his products are also being sold in California dispensaries.
For his part, Beto O’Rourke seems to share some similarities with Nelson when it comes to cannabis. While O’Rourke may not be quite as public or outspoken as Nelson, he has made his position as a lawmaker explicitly clear.
For example, in May he was asked about his stance on legalization while meeting with constituents at a doughnut shop in Sonora, Texas. His answer left little room for confusion.
“I’m on a bill that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana once and for all,” he said.
Conservative Fans Are Freaking Out
Nelson’s decision to headline O’Rourke’s rally hasn’t gone over too well with the more conservative-leaning, Republican portion of his fanbase.
As Huffington Post reported, a number of (former) fans took to social media to vent their frustration. In particular, many were angry that Nelson is supporting a Democratic nominee.
“If thats true [than] I’m done after 45 years with the Red Headed Stranger. By Wille [sic], that smoke has finally got you!” one person commented.
“Goodbye Willie, I don’t support socialist commies!” another person wrote. “You’re not going to advertise on my FB page either. Like we say in Texas, Now Git!”
Regardless, Nelson stands by his decision, and will take the stage at O’Rourke’s Austin rally later this month.