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Woody Harrelson says he gave up weed — until Willie Nelson handed him a joint: 'Welcome home, son'

Woody Harrelson has a film and TV career that's spanned 38 years. But the showbiz vet is also known for his side hustle: marijuana.

The Emmy-winning actor, 61, spoke candidly about his career in a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, in which he welcomed cameras into The Woods, the cannabis dispensary he co-owns in West Hollywood.

Harrelson, who rose to stardom as the lovable bartender Woody Boyd on Cheers, believes his avid marijuana advocacy may have hindered his career. When he first started speaking about it 25 years ago, which he referred to as "coming out of the closet on the herb thing," he explained that the public didn't exactly respond positively.

"It was not a happy, frolicking, fun response," said Harrelson, adding, "I don't think it helped" his career. "People are just anxious to put you in a little box in this industry, you know?"

The Hunger Games star gave up smoking weed several years ago, hoping it would benefit his relationships with others, including his wife, Laura, and their three daughters.

"I wanted to be emotionally available to my family, to my friends. It was a good experiment," said Harrelson, who lives in Hawaii with his family. However, it was another famous face that managed to reel him back in: country music legend Willie Nelson, who got Harrelson to smoke at one of their poker games.

"Willie would always act like he didn't know that I quit. I'm saying for, like, the fifth time that day, 'I quit, you know?' And he's like, 'Oh, oh.' I win a big hand. He hands it right to me, and I just grab it and I take a big toke, and he goes, 'Welcome home, son!'" the Triangle of Sadness star shared.

Woody Harrelson says Willie Nelson got him smoking weed again. (Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Woody Harrelson says Willie Nelson got him smoking weed again. (Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

When Cheers ended after a lengthy run, Harrelson didn't expect to continue to thrive as an actor.

"I thought that was just going to be my career, because six years in I hadn't done any other part. And back then it was much harder to jump off of television into movies. Now, it's kind of an open door, both directions," he explained. However, Harrelson went on to find great success in film, even earning three Oscar nominations.

As for the one opportunity he does regret turning down, it's the title role in Jerry Maguire.

"That was a blunder," he laughed. "And then, like, two days later, I hear Tom Cruise is doing it, and I'm like, 'Oh, I might have f****d that up!'"

Never one to stay quiet, Harrelson sparked controversy over the weekend when he hosted Saturday Night Live for the fifth time. During a somewhat rambling opening monologue that drew allusions to COVD conspiracies, Harrelson told a story about the “craziest script” he’s ever read.

“So the movie goes like this,” Harrelson told the audience. “The biggest drug cartels in the world get together and buy up all the media and all the politicians and force all the people in the world to stay locked in their homes. And people can only come out if they take the cartel’s drugs and keep taking them over and over.”

Harrelson concluded the monologue by saying that he "threw the script away."

“I mean, who was going to believe that crazy idea? Being forced to do drugs? I do that voluntarily all day,” he said.