Tag Archives: Cannabis

Cannabis Dominoes

Cannabis Dominoes

This is the third post I’ve done on the history of cannabis and mainly that history in the United State.

See Cannabis Contrails and Cannabis Contrails Continued for those two.


The 21st century was already 20 years old. New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy had been elected in  2017 and he had promised if elected to legalize marijuana within his first 100 days in office.

It was 1134 days later, but much had happened. By early 2021 several other state governments–including NJ neighbors New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania–were paving the way to the same legalization.

Cannabis Dominoes

New Jersey

February 22, 2021: New Jersey became the 13th state to legalize marijuana (35 had legalized medical marijuana) and it wasn’t just the state’s social justice activists, entrepreneurs and the state’s most ardent weed enthusiasts who celebrated.

Legal weed advocates nationwide had kept a close eye on New Jersey, seen as a vital domino that might soon send the entire East Coast cascading toward marijuana legalization.

And, eventually, the rest of the country.

New Jersey could be the game changer for the Northeast and for the Mid-Atlantic. It is a huge state, there will be a large market there and it will undoubtedly put pressure on surrounding states to rethink their positions and create momentum for cannabis reform,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national advocacy group for marijuana legalization.  [The Hill article]

Cannabis Dominoes

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

July 24, 1967

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

Controversy and the Beatles

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

By 1967, the Beatles were used to media scrutiny and controversy. Sometimes the media thrust it upon them; sometimes the Beatles put themselves out front. John’s 1965 comment comparing the Beatles’ popularity to that of Christ resulted in some radio stations banning their music and some record stores refusing to sell their records.

The original 1966 album cover for “Yesterday and Today” with them sitting in bloody butcher smocks holding pieces of meat and broken baby dolls was so controversial that Capital Records immediately withdrew the album, re-covered it, and only then re-released it.

Beatles Say Yes To Grass

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

John Hopkins

In 1967, most people and their govenments continued to view marijuana as a gateway drug, addictive, and deadly. While research had already suggested that none of those views were accurate, society continued to legislate against its use, sale, and production.

Those familiar with the substance saw it in a different light.

John “Hoppy” Hopkins was a British photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist. He used marijuana and a jury found him guilty of its possession and use. The judge sentenced Hopkins to 9 months in prison.

A “Free Hoppy” movement resulted.  [2015 Guardian obituary]

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

Stephen Abrams

Stephen Irwin Abrams was an American drug policy activist living in the United Kingdom. He led the “Free Hoppy” movement and wrote a full page advertisement that demanded cannabis law reform.

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

Beatles join

Among the dozens of researchers, academics, scientists, and other well-known people, Abrams sought out the Beatles imprimatur. They not only granted the use of their names to the petition, Paul paid for the advertisement in  The Times. Paul did not want it known he had done so, but having such an illustrious person sponsoring such a controversial piece in a major paper meant the secret was poorly kept.

The text’s lead sentence read, “The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice.”

It went on to speak to the view of marijuana’s danger and dispute those views.

64 signatures appeared.  After each of the Beatles’ names, the initials M.B.O. appeared: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Queen Elizabeth had honored them with the award on October 26, 1965.

Click on the following to view the entire text, from the excellent Beatles Bible site.

Beatles Say Legalize Grass

John Lennon, ex-M.B.E

Two years later, on Nov. 25, 1969, John Lennon returned his MBE medal stating, “Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts. With love. John Lennon of Bag”

Likely, many of the same people who had criticized the Queen’s honoring John with the award because they felt him unworthy, again criticized Lennon for returning it.

Gosh darn it. The Beatles: damned when they do. Damned when they don’t.

Beatles Say Legalize Grass