Fifty-Four Years Ago Today—The Beatles Insisted the UK Legalize Weed in Newspaper Ad

Paying for an expensive full-page ad to run in the London Times on July 24, 1967, The Beatles and band manager Brian Epstein joined a few dozen activists to urge lawmakers—insistently—to legalize pot in the U.K. All four band members smoked and liked cannabis—but especially Paul McCartney, who repeatedly describes cannabis as being transformative in their songwriting development.

Given by the wording in the 1967 ad, you’d think the cannabis legalization argument was printed yesterday: “The law against pot is immoral and unworkable in practice,” the ad title reads. Pot is “the least harmful of pleasure-giving drugs, and […] in particular, far less harmful than alcohol.” 

It continues, “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 was signed by The Beatles, their manager, and about a few dozen other activists fighting against marijuana laws in the U.K. 

Even in 1967, activists knew full-well that the propaganda spreading about the so-called dangers of pot were based in lies. The sense of urgency to legalize pot was spurred by the arrest of International Times founder

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