Cindy Ord, Getty Images
In a "Today" show interview with Matt Lauer, Willie confesses that he's given up his pot-smoking ways a number of times, but adds he has never considered giving it up for good because, "I haven't seen any side effects that really are harmful to me. I'm the canary in the mine. I'm 80 years old, check me out."
The legendary entertainer also commented on the recent elections during which two U.S. states, Colorado and Washington, legalized pot, in spite of it still being against federal law. When asked if he thought he would be alive when it is legal in all 50 states, he replied, "Oh, I don't know. I would hope so. You never know about those things, that's a tricky situation."
In the new book, an excerpt of which appears on the "Today" website, Willie details his battle to give up smoking cigarettes, and talks about his first experiences with marijuana, which he was introduced to by a couple of musician friends in Fort Worth.
"The first time I smoked pot I kept waiting for something to happen," he writes. "I kept puffing and puffing, waiting for something to happen, but nothing happened. So I went back to cigarettes and whiskey, which made s--- happen. As I started playing the clubs around Texas, I ran into the pills: the white crosses, the yellow turnarounds, and the black mollies. I never liked any of the pills or speed, because I didn't need speed; I was already speeding."
Willie Nelson's "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From the Road" is in bookstores and available online here.