Willie Nelson’s Pot Plea Bargain in Peril

Nelson was arrested in El Paso, Texas in November for- what else?- marijuana. Cops who boarded his tour bus smelled dope, searched the vehicle and found six ounces of weed. Early in June, prosecutors in the case said they would reduce the charges against the 78-year-old singer and take jail off the table. Under the terms of the deal, Nelson would have to plead “no contest” to possession of drug paraphernalia.

The singer would have been fined $500 plus $280 in court costs and his record would have been cleared after 30 days if he “stayed out of trouble.” Sounds reasonable, you might think, but maybe a bit preferential? Hudspeth County Judge Becky Dean-Walker thought so.

Walker suggested the deal constituted special treatment for the star, and she told prosecutors Wednesday that she wouldn’t sign off on it. Dean-Walker told the Associated Press that prosecutors in Nelson’s case don’t offer similar deals to others and said Nelson should be charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, which could land him in jail for up to a year.