As far as I'm concerned, the 2012 presidential race has officially begun.  That's because Willie Nelson has endorsed Republican candidate, and former New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson.

As you'd expect with Willie... it's all about the weed. Johnson favors legalizing marijuana so who better to get the endorsement of Willie's Teapot Party.  But he didn't just hand it over to the guy.

Willie met with Johnson after one of his concerts and came away convinced.

I'm sure it helped that Johnson vocalized his stance earlier this month at a Republican presidential debate when he said, quote, "I advocate legalizing marijuana... control it, regulate, tax it."

After Willie's endorsement became official, Johnson released the following statement:  Quote, "Americans are demanding the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams without interference from a heavy-handed government, and Willie Nelson lends a tremendous voice to those demands."

(Are there any folks out there on the same page as Willie Nelson on this?  Meaning, will you vote for someone simply because they favor legalizing marijuana?)