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March 25, 1976 - David Bowie Arraigned for Possession Charge

This Day in Cannabis History:

On this day in 1976, glam rock star David Bowie took one of the most stylish mug shots ever when he was arraigned on a pot possession charge in Rochester, New York. Here's how it went down:

After performing a concert at the Community War Memorial on the night of Saturday, March 20, Bowie was partying in his hotel suite with a couple of friends (including punk icon Iggy Pop) and a few women he'd met at the show and in the hotel bar. Well, it turned out that those two women from the bar were actually undercover narcotics officers who were staking him out on a tip that he had cocaine; he didn't, but what he did have in his room was around six and a half ounces of weed.

At 2:25 am, four vice squad detectives and a state police investigator who were listening from an adjacent room knocked, then busted in—hitting Bowie in the head with the door and knocking him down as they entered, then arresting the whole group on possession charges. They were released on bond (paid by Bowie) later that morning.

Four days later, on March 25, Bowie showed up at Rochester City Court, where he was greeted by a crowd of nearly 200 police and fans. There, he took the mug shot pictured above and pleaded not guilty to the felony charges (as did the rest of the group). Bowie swore the pot wasn't his, and that he didn't even smoke pot, but would not say whose it was.

“Rest assured the stuff was not mine," Bowie said. "I can’t say much more, but it did belong to the others in the room that were busted in. Bloody potheads. What a dreadful irony–me, popped for grass. The stuff sickens me. I haven’t touched it in a decade.”

Their case was adjourned until—ironically—April 20, and all of the defendants went free on bail. When the day of the hearing came, a grand jury dismissed the charges. Bowie reportedly held no ill will toward the police about the incident...nevertheless, he never again played in Rochester again.

Oh...and that third woman, the one that he'd met at the show? She was a Chinese American beauty that's rumored to be the inspiration behind the song "China Girl."

For more info, check out the original news coverage here.


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