“The Law Against Marijuana …


… is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice …”

The start of a full-page advertisement in today’s edition of The Times fifty years ago

Among the signatories and sponsors a number of doctors, media people (David Dimbleby), artists (David Hockney – and Derek Boshier from Portsmouth), Kenneth Tynan, George Melly, and the Beatles.

See more at


The consequence half-a-century on is of course that the law remains. For what it’s worth, my views are stated quite clearly in my new book – amazingly I smoked the stuff for more than 30 years without becoming addicted to heroin or turning into a psychopath. For some years I haven’t touched it and probably never will again, but I’m very glad I did.

Also this past weekend, once again the Birdcage was only open on Saturday night with the penultimate appearance by the band that played there far more than any other, Jimmy James & the Vagabonds.


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

5 thoughts on ““The Law Against Marijuana …

  1. I had not bought today’s Guardian when I wrote and posted this. There is surely a certain irony that, on the 50th anniversary of that advertisement, their leading story is about “soaring alcohol deaths” and an “avoidable public health crisis”. Apparently around 63,000 people will die in the UK over the next five years from alcohol-related liver problems. That will rarely warrant a mention, but if a kid dies from a dodgy illegal drug occasionally (usually because there is no regulation), it will get headlines.

  2. Interesting to see some of the signatories on that petition!
    Dr. S. Hutt is better known these days as Hank Wangford, but as Dr Sam Hutt he worked the Isle Of Wight Festivals with “Release”, helping people that were having “issues” with the pharmaceuticals of choice (“the brown acid is not specifically good”. as Chet Helms announced from the stage at Woodstock)….
    Another interesting entry is L. Jeffrey Selznick. Lewis Jeffrey Selznick was a film producer and director, known for “The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind” (1988) . He died in1997, in Los Angeles.
    Lewis was the elder brother to Daniel Mayer Selznick, also a producer, best known for “Garbo” (2005).
    Their father was David O. Selznick (May 10, 1902 – June 22, 1965) the producer of “Gone with the Wind” (1939) and “Rebecca” (1940), both of which earned him Academy Awards for Best Picture.
    Their mother was Irene Mayer Selznick (1907 – 1990) the daughter of film producer Louis B. Mayer co-founder (with Sam Goldwyn) of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios (MGM) in 1924.
    Well…. Danny Selznick married Joan Keller Stern, who became Joan Keller Selznick. (They divorced some time ago).
    In 1970 Joan Keller Stern won an Academy Award for producing best documentary short film – “The Magic Machines”.
    So where is all this leading us, I hear you ask? Well……. Joan Keller Selznick – or”J.K” as she’s known, is the long time girlfriend of our old friend Bruce Barthol, ex bass player for Country Joe & the Fish. Some of you may have met J.K when she was with Bruce on his first solo tour of the U.K in 2015.
    Here’s J.K winning her Oscar…..

  3. I did a gig with Reet Petite & Gone in London, supporting Hank Wangford (Dingwalls I think). Might it have been the only London club double bill in which both bands were fronted by (real) Doctors?

  4. I suppose you’re right, Dave!

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