Celebrities used as an example by law enforcement
Despite their fans and the importance placed on them in our society, celebrities can also get arrested for drug crimes. In many situations, as with other citizens, officers make these arrests based on simple possession – especially of marijuana.
Many people believe that the rich and famous are arrested for drug crimes to set an example to the rest of us that nobody is above the law and the “War on Drugs.” As a celebrity-obsessed culture, this message is received loud and clear by most Americans, whether the famous individual faces prosecution or not.
A history of arresting famous citizens for drug crimes
Celebrity drug arrests are not a recent development by any means. In fact, the U.S. government has been arresting famous citizens for drug crimes since the 1930s.
Just as with today, the rich and famous who were arrested throughout U.S. history were used by law enforcement agencies as a show of force and resolve against illegal drug use.
Examples of celebrities who have been arrested
No celebrities seem immune to the reach of the Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement entities. To illustrate this, below is a list of just some of the movie and television starts, musicians and other performers, athletes and other cultural icons who have been arrested for suspected marijuana or other drug use.
- Oliver Stone, filmmaker – Pulled over by police for erratic driving and arrested when hash and painkillers were found in his car
- Matthew McConaughey, actor – Responding to numerous noise complaints, police arrested the actor and booked him on suspicion of marijuana and paraphernalia possession
- Bob Denver, actor – Arrested when a package containing two ounces of marijuana was delivered to his home
- Whitney Houston, pop singer – Was arrested while boarding an airplane in Hawaii when officers found 15.2 grams of drugs in her bag
- Snoop Dog, rapper – Arrested at a Los Angeles comedy club for having less than an ounce of marijuana in his possession
- Willie Nelson, country singer – Arrested in Texas for having pot in his car, but charges were dropped as the search was found to be illegal
- John Lennon, musician – Arrested for hash possession in 1968, and almost deported from the United States five years later because of the charges
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball star – Arrested by U.S. Customs officials after they found six grams of marijuana in his possession, which he claims to use to treat migraines
- Todd Marinovich, football star – Arrested for growing one marijuana plant in his home
- Ken Kesey, author – Arrested twice for marijuana in 1966 and eventually spent five months in jail
- Neal Cassady, beat poet – Arrested in 1958 after attempting to sell two joints to undercover agents
It is no question that many of the celebrities listed above benefited from experienced legal representation. You don’t have to be a cultural icon, however, to obtain a strong defense against drug charges.