The Beatles Pushed for Marijuana Legalization Over 50 Years Ago
While The Beatles have been widely remembered for their contributions to psychedelic rock (Magic Mystery Tour, anyone?) and LSD-culture, the band was an early adopter of efforts to legalize cannabis at their pinnacle.
As described by Herb, the Beatles while co-co-ca-choo-ing in “I Am the Walrus” were also taking out public ads promoting the safety of marijuana over other drugs, calling the law against marijuana “immoral in principle”.
Beatles Get Real with Weed
The ad that was placed in The London Times in 1967 was a response to a cannabis-related arrest of photographer John Hopkins. The declaration against the anti-marijuana laws was signed by 64 signatories, including the Fab 4 and their manager Brian Epstein.
The wording cited marijuana as the least harmful of the pleasure-giving drugs, most notably alcohol, and it attempted to defend against the widely-held stigma that marijuana makes people lazy. “Cannabis smoking is widespread in the universities, and the custom has been taken up by writers, teachers, doctors, businessmen, musicians, scientists and priests. Such persons do not fit the stereotype of the unemployed criminal dope fiend,” the ad included.
How the Beatles Got their Smokey Start
Marijuana has been long-associated with rock and roll, and it’s been told by The Beatles themselves that it was fellow songwriter Bob Dylan that introduced the boys with the mop tops from Liverpool to the good ol’ jazz cabbage.
While the Beatles and their co-signors of the ad in The London Times sparked a decades-long discussion on cannabis legalization, cannabis still remains 100% legal for medical and recreational use in the United Kingdom.