Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 | 2 a.m.
With burning joints raised high, about 200 marijuana industry employees and representatives celebrated the arrival of country music legend and marijuana advocate Willie Nelson on Tuesday in downtown Las Vegas, commemorating the debut of Nelson’s brand of cannabis products in the Las Vegas Valley.
“We’ve been working on this for over a year because they wanted a place where recreational marijuana was legal,” said CEO Paul Schloss of Redwood Marijuana, a central valley cultivation facility that will produce and market the "Willie’s Reserve" brand pre-wrapped marijuana joints and edibles, like cannabis-infused chocolates, to eight valley dispensaries. “This isn’t just a pot smoker here — this is a rockstar.”
The four-hour red carpet event at Exile Boutique, 1235 S. Main St., welcomed Nelson, 83, just after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. Donning a cowboy hat and a black shirt, his signature braided hair hanging down to his stomach, the country music legend smiled and took pictures with eager fans, as others trying to make their way through the packed clothing store-turned party venue lauded him with phrases like “I love you Willie.”
Along the guitar-lined wall, framed pictures of Nelson hung near a rack of cowboy boots as famous songs like “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind” played in the background.
Nelson was not made available to media for interviews at Tuesday’s event, nor was Andrew Davison of the Denver-based Willie’s Reserve company. But before leaving, Nelson smiled and lit one of his brand’s joints, inhaling deeply before passing it to an excited fan.
“You’re awesome,” the woman said, smiling.
Tuesday’s red carpet event also featured an open bar, hors d'oeuvres and a special makeshift tattoo parlor.
Lying back on the tattoo bed, her rose-colored dress sleeve rolled up her shoulder, Seattle-based Willie’s Reserve employee Rachel Hurvitz kept her eyes closed as a tattoo artist inked a sketch of a flower bouquet into her right bicep.
For a recommended donation of $40, attendees at Tuesday’s event could select from about two dozen tattoo designs, including Willie Nelson’s name written in cursive and a caricature of the country singer’s face.
“It’s a memorable trip and a memorable night,” Hurvitz said.