Ten Musicians Who've Been Busted with Marijuana

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

If Colorado and Washington are the way of the future, weed will soon be decriminalized everywhere. But until that day comes, rock stars are going to be busted for having it on their person. It's happened since the dawn of rock n' roll. So many of our most famous and beloved musicians have spent a night on lockdown for holding the reefer. Here are ten of the most interesting cases.

1. Louis Armstrong

All the way back in 1931, the famous jazz trumpeter nicknamed Satchmo was the first celebrity arrested for ganja. He was sentenced to nine days in the Los Angeles city jail. In the fifties, Armstrong wrote a letter to President Eisenhower to legalize it. "What A Wonderful World" is Armstrong imagining Eisenhower coming through.

2. Donovan

They say weed makes you paranoid, but that doesn't mean they're not after you. In 1966, the folkie troubadour Donovan became the first British rock star busted for marijuana. His explanation, "Why was I busted? Tens of thousands of guys were rolling joints that night. Why me? Because I was an example to youth. The authorities thought they could stop this revolution called the sixties by picking off the main singer-songwriters. The poets were always at the forefront."

3. Willie Nelson

The Red Headed Stranger has been busted four times. Once driving to former Texas Governor Ann Richards' funeral. Most recently, in a 2010 arrest, his sentence was to sing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" for the court.

4. Snoop Dogg

The least surprising name on the list perhaps is the rapper occasionally known as Snoop Lion. You'd think making your premiere on an album titled The Chronic might heat you up and make you a little more careful about what you're holding. But Snoop Dogg don't care. He's been arrested six times for possession of marijuana.

5. Fiona Apple

That Sierra Blanca checkpoint, man. If you're ever touring through Texas, you might want to think twice about taking I-10. The checkpoint at Sierra Blanca has been responsible for the arrests of not only Fiona Apple, but Nelly, the actor Armie Hammer, and the aforementioned Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg.

6. David Bowie & Iggy Pop

Back in 1976 while touring through Rochester, NY, the cops got a twofer nailing Ziggy and Iggy with half a pound.

7. Whitney Houston

While boarding a plane in Hawaii with her husband Bobby Brown, they were found in possession of half an ounce. That didn't stop Whitney. She got on the plane before officers arrived and let her lawyers deal with it.

8. David Lee Roth

Perhaps the most embarrassing incident involved former Van Halen frontman trying to buy a $5 nickel bag off an undercover cop in New York's Washington Square Park in 1993. Back then, Diamond Dave's musical career was in a rough patch, but he proved the critics wrong who were saying at the time he couldn't even get arrested.

9. Keith Richards

In 1967, the Rolling Stones guitarist was found guilty of allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property and sentenced to a year in prison. A month later British appeals courts overturned the ruling for lack of evidence allowing Keef to dabble in harder drugs.

10. Paul McCartney

Sir Paul's romance with Linda Eastman is one for storybooks. If it wasn't for pot they never would have spent a night apart during their 29 years of marriage. The only exception were the ten nights the Beatle had to spend in a Tokyo jail for possession.

New Party Rules for Millennials

10 Best Hipster Bars in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Top 20 Sexiest R&B Songs from the '90s to Today

Top Five Things That Make New Kids on the Block's Donnie Wahlberg a Hipster

Ten Best Florida Metal Bands of All Time

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.