Cops And Rockers: Paul McCartney Released From Jail On Pot Charge In 1980
In a new weekly series on WZLX.com, we highlight the week in history of rock stars brushing up against the law and generally behaving badly.
On this day in 1980, authorities released Paul McCartney from jail after busting him for drug possession and throwing him in the can for nine days.
It’s no secret that Paul and The Beatles dabbled in drug use over the course of their career in the 1960s and 1970s. Need proof? Well there’s this and this. But there’s also some decently strong evidence that Paul smoked pot…Because he got caught with a lot of pot in Tokyo back in 1980.
He was on tour with Wings and the band had headed to Tokyo for an 11-day stint in the city playing shows. It was during his travels where Japanese customs agents found half a pound (about 7.7 ounces) of marijuana in his suitcase. The amount was large enough to bring smuggling charges down on Paul, but he ended up escaping those charges because the pot was clearly for his personal use.
Still…Guy was an idiot for bringing that much pot with him anywhere for himself. Like a former member of The Beatles would have any trouble scoring some weed if he really wanted it.
If charged for smuggling, Paul could have faced up to seven years hard labor in prison…Yeah, pot laws in Japan are pretty strict compared to ours. He ended up “only” being deported, but he eventually returned for shows in Tokyo in 1990 and hasn’t had an incident there since.
Here’s some photos from Paul’s time in Tokyo with the authorities that year:
(Photos courtesy Associated Press)
Some old TV news footage shows Macca being escorted by authorities and looking like his usual cheerful self. Perhaps he should have asked one of the screaming girls to get some pot for him.
Paul later said in an interview that he didn’t listen to people who warned him about bringing pot to Japan and didn’t even try to hide the pot in his suitcase. Watch the interview below.
He also says in the video that people thought he was framed but he thought he was “just stupid” – he doesn’t seem to remember what actually happened! What do you think went down?