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Looking Back On Paul McCartney’s 1973 Scottish Drug Bust

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Popfoto

On March 8th, 1973, Paul McCartney was fined $240.

The charge?

Growing cannabis on his Scottish farmstead.

Exiting a local Campbelltown courthouse with wife Linda McCartney by his side, Paul was approached by BBC journalist David Scott, who was eager to find out how the former Beatle had deftly maneuvered his way out of a stricter sentence.

[A Prison] sentence would have been okay,” McCartney shared, “if I could have taken my guitar in with me and, you know, write a few songs, and stuff, but I wasn’t looking forward to it.

It was said in court,” Scott then stated, “That you have considerable interest in horticulture.”

This was a key part of Paul’s defense.

“When did this start?” the reporter asked.

A couple of years ago, you know,” Paul McCartney replied, “My dad’s a keen gardener, you know, I think it’s rubbed off.”

Scott then moved to another key part of McCartney‘s story, that he had planted the seeds, gifted to him by fans, unaware the were cannabis.

Well, we got a load of seeds,” Paul shared, “you know, in the post, and we didn’t know what they were you know, and we planted them all, and five of them came up illegal.

This may not seem like the most convincing account, but it did the trick.

Paul had been the target of similar raids in the 1960s and in 1972 had been subject to a bust while touring in Sweden.

He would be accosted by authorities under similar charges in 1975.

Yet his most notorious bust arrived in 1984 when  Paul McCartney was incarcerated for a number of days in Japan and later deported.

Paul McCartney would, however, eventually change his ways, swearing off the drug in 2015.

I don’t really want to set an example to my kids and grandkids,” he told the newspaper the Daily Mirror in one recent interview. “It’s now a parent thing. Back then I was just some guy around London having a ball, and the kids were little so I’d just try and keep it out of their faces. Instead of smoking a spliff I’ll now have a glass of red wine or a nice margarita. The last time I smoked was a long time ago.”

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