A full-size offprint from The Times, dated July 24, 1967, printing Steve Abrams’ SOMA-sponsored advertisement, headlined “The Law Against Marijuana is Immoral in Principle and Unworkable in Practice”.
Offset litho, recto only. 60.8x45.9cm. Designed by Mike McInnerney, whose layout eschewed contemporary psychedelia in favour of a sober appearance more in keeping with The Times newspaper’s traditional look.
The chain of events leading up to the full-page petition (which set out SOMA's proposals for the decriminalisation of cannabis) began with the arrest on cannabis charges of John (Hoppy) Hopkins on December 30, 1966, the Stones’ bust at Redlands in February 1967, and the sense that the establishment would soon target the Beatles following the release on June 1 of ‘Sgt. Pepper’, a record saturated with references to cannabis and LSD (the last track, “A Day in the Life”, was banned from airplay on the BBC).
The advertisement, funded at the instigation of Paul McCartney, was signed by sixty-five eminent people in the arts and sciences, including the Nobel laureate Francis Crick, Graham Greene, David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, David Bailey, Peter Brook, RD Laing, fifteen doctors of medicine, one member of the Wootton Committee, two members of Parliament, Brian Epstein and all four Beatles. Its appearance created an uproar (the issue was debated in the House of Commons on the day of its publication) and immediate repercussions, almost certainly influencing the appeal court’s decision on July 31 to quash Keith Richards’s conviction for allowing his Redlands home to be used for smoking pot, and reducing Mick Jagger’s sentence to a conditional discharge (though it did not help Hoppy’s plight).
Old central vertical and horizontal folds; two short, closed tears to upper edge; light creasing; o/w Very Good plus.
Provenance: Steve Abrams.