Willie Nelson has rightly received many lifetime achievement awards, including one from the Recording Academy in 1999, another from the Country Music Association in 2012 (which named the award in his honor), induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, a Kennedy Center Honor in 1998 and the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize in 2015.
What could ever equal those prestigious honors? To a longtime marijuana advocate like Nelson, this may just do it: On Dec. 7, he will receive the 2021 Clio Cannabis Lifetime Achievement Award.
Long before cannabis gained mainstream acceptance, Nelson made the case that its dangers were greatly exaggerated and its benefits were scarcely mentioned. And to look at a productive and prolific artist like Nelson, 88, it’s hard to argue.
Nelson has occasionally recorded songs about his fondness for cannabis. He teamed with Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson on “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” (2012) and with Merle Haggard on “It’s All Going to Pot” in 2015. The latter reached No. 48 on Hot Country Songs.
According to a statement, “Nelson was selected to receive the award for his decades-long reputation for advocating the plant’s healing powers, elevating cannabis in the mainstream and innovating in the business space. His team is responsible for introducing marijuana and hemp-based wellness products like Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy in addition to launching a new cannabis conference called Luck Summit: Planting the Seed.”
Fab 5 Freddy, who in 1988 became the first host of Yo! MTV Raps, will be recognized with the 2021 Clio Cannabis honorary award for his work to educate the public about cannabis prohibition in the 2019 Netflix documentary Grass Is Greener and his commitment to giving opportunities to those who have been imprisoned for cannabis the chance to thrive in the industry.
Pryor and Chong will both receive 2021 Clio Cannabis impact awards. As the co-founder of Cannaclusive, Pryor is focused on inclusive marketing and business advocacy and facilitating fair representation of minority cannabis consumers. Chong, the founder of Stock Pot Images and Asian Americans for Cannabis Education (AACE), is helping to shape the conversation around advocacy for the legalization of cannabis and psilocybin.
“As the cannabis industry continues its rapid growth, we are tasked with ensuring the Clio Cannabis Awards evolve at the same pace so that we may properly honor those at the forefront of creating change and driving the industry forward,” Michael Kauffman, executive director, Clio Cannabis, said in a statement. “With four game-changing specialty award recipients and an exclusive streaming partner to help us reach a wider audience, we’re taking the 2021 Clio Cannabis Awards higher than ever before.” (Pun intended, no doubt.)
Launched in 2019, Clio Cannabis celebrates the creators at the forefront of cannabis marketing and communications.
Clio Cannabis is an offshoot of the famed Clio Awards. Founded in 1959 to celebrate creative excellence in advertising, Clio today honors the work and talent at the forefront of the industry in a variety of specialized fields, including sports, fashion, music, entertainment, cannabis and health.
Columbia Care, one of the largest multi-state operators in the cannabis industry, is the title sponsor of the event, which will also feature the reveal of this year’s gold and grand Clio cannabis award winners.
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