Steve Abrams, a key member of the London 1960s counterculture, died last week. Abrams was principally responsible for the above advert, which ran in The Times in July 24 1967 declaring that ‘The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice’.
The advert was paid for by Paul McCartney and was signed by numerous celebrities, including all four Beatles, Francis Crick, Graham Greene, David Dimbleby, Jonathan Miller, Brian Walden and many others.
Abrams told Jonathon Green in ‘Days In The Life‘ that ‘After the ad came out a friend of mine got on the train and delighted at each stop in watching people opening their copy of The Times and their expressions of disbelief. So wonderful was this that when he got to Victoria he took another train back and did it again just to watch.’
It is less well known that Abrams was also involved in Timothy Leary’s experiments with psilocybin, taking the drug at Harvard for Leary in 1961. Abrams then described his experience as ‘very pleasant’, giving him ‘tremendous insight’ even if it was ‘somewhat alien’, and he was ‘very eager’ to try it again, which he most certainly did.
After the The Times advert, Abrams co-organised a pro-pot rally at Hyde Park in 1967. Everybody got very high, including guest Allen Ginsberg, who wore a virulent psychedelic shirt given to him the day before McCartney and was warned by police for disturbing the peace by playing his harmonium.
Any thoughts about what would happen today? The contempt for the law has grown so great, I doubt anyone would care. Nostalgia for the counter-culture is not what it used to be. Thanks for reviving our interest!
there is solid evidence that for some people pot can have very damaging effects, producing serious anxiety attacks etc- I found with some of my patients it proved psychologically very addictive and life destroying.- so Im not so sure we should yearn after these days….
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