Willie Nelson to end year on a high with Christmas appeal

Country star asks fans to donate to Christmas appeal run by police who arrested him for cannabis possession – and finds support from rapper Snoop Dogg

Last month Texas police arrested Willie Nelson for allegedly carrying cannabis on his tourbus. Now the country singer has responded – by asking fans to donate to the sheriff department's annual Christmas appeal.

"We think that's pretty good," said Mike Doyal, chief deputy at the Hudspeth county sheriff's department. Nelson faces up to a year in prison after police found a bag of cannabis on his bus, the Honeysuckle Rose III. He allegedly admitted the drugs were his and was booked at the local jail; he later posted $2,500 (£1,600) bail.

But even with charges still pending, Nelson is taking the high road. His website has posted an invitation to donate to the Hudspeth toy drive, which helps Santa Claus deliver presents to local children. "For what it's worth, we appreciate the mention and we're glad to take any donations," Doyal told Rolling Stone. "[Nelson] was very co-operative and nice and pleasant to be around."

Nelson was initially charged with felony drug possession, with a penalty of up to two years in prison. But officials downgraded the charge from a felony to a misdemeanour, ruling that he was carrying 4oz (113g) not 6oz (170g) of cannabis. The 77-year-old now faces a maximum jail sentence of one year, plus a $4,000 fine. "I'm betting it doesn't go [to prison time], but that's between him and the county attorney," Doyal said. "He had a little bag of marijuana ... the man's, what, 77-years-old? What are we gonna do to him?"

While Nelson tries to out-good the good cops, his friend Snoop Dogg isn't behaving quite so sweetly. Asked about the arrest by TMZ, the rapper warned that "they better leave Willie the fuck alone". "Willie Nelson is a legend," Snoop said. "Sometimes you need to back up off of certain people and have a certain amount of respect for your elders. And Willie Nelson is our elder ... If you got a problem with Willie Nelson, you got a problem with me."


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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