10 Aug 1972: McCartney and wife arrested in Sweden for drug possession
On this day in 1972, Paul McCartney and his wife Linda were arrested in Sweden for possession of drugs after a concert in Gothenburg
The pair were pulled over while driving back to their hotel and found with an undisclosed amount of marijuana. Thankfully, the Swedish drug laws were more lenient than those of the Brits and Americans and the only charges received were fines totalling around $2000. Paul later joked that the arrest would serve as good publicity for the tour.
This would not be the only time the McCartney’s landed themselves in trouble for their enjoyment of cannabis. The very next year he was found growing a crop of marijuana on his property, leading to another fine and a charge for illegal cultivation. Paul claimed the seeds had been gifted to him by a fan and had no knowledge of what would blossom from them. This seems unlikely with his arrest history, and he was arrested for the plant again in 1975 in Los Angeles. The peak of his arrest sheet came in 1980 when Japanese customs officers discovered an amount in his luggage while arriving in Tokyo. This charge also brought his most serious consequence, landing him 9 days imprisonment. He was arrested once again in Barbados in 1984. McCartney went on to say of his arrests, “Cannabis is less harmful than rum, punch, whiskey, nicotine and glue, all of which are perfectly legal, I don’t think I was doing anyone any harm whatsoever.”
The incident in Sweden also inspired Paul to write one of his better known solo songs, “Band on the Run” from his third album of the same name. The album went on to hit number one three times, and reach triple-platinum status.