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Jan. 21, 1970 - Timothy Leary Sentenced to 10 Years for Two Roaches

This Day in Cannabis History:

After experimenting with LSD in the early 1960s, Harvard psychology professor Timothy Leary experienced a spiritual awakening and became an unlikely icon of the counterculture. Preaching to the nation's youth to "tune in, turn on, and drop out," the so-called "High Priest of LSD" was the de facto poster boy for the psychedelic revolution—and "the most dangerous man in America" according to President Richard Nixon. But it wasn't LSD that eventually led to the guru's imprisonment—it was actually just a small amount of weed.

Leary was busted for marijuana possession twice—first in Laredo Texas on December 23, 1965, for five ounces, then again on December 26, 1968, in Laguna Beach, California for just two roaches in the ashtray of his car. He was convicted both times: in the first case, he was sentenced to 30 years, but appealed the conviction and had it overturned by the Supreme Court (only to be retried for it in December 1969 and sentenced to 10 years); for the second case, he was sentenced to another 10 years...on this very day in 1970.

Leary would likely have had to serve the full 20 years had he not been broken out of prison with the help of his friends in The Brotherhood of Eternal Love. (Read more about Leary and his prison break here).

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