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When Chuck Berry Was Arrested for Marijuana

Chuck Berry at Lehman College, Bronx, NY, 1972 (photo by Ed Bender for Meridian)

On July 19, 1990, Chuck Berry, who passed away on Mar. 18 at 90, was busted for possession of approximately one ounce of marijuana in Missouri. He pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge.

Police raided Berry's home in St. Charles after several women sued him for allegedly videotaping women in the bathroom at his restaurant, The Southern Air, in Wentzville. Berry claimed the camera was intended to catch an employee who he believed was stealing money from the restaurant. During a search of his home, they found the video tapes in question (one allegedly featured a minor) and 35 grams of pot, which resulted in a child-abuse charge that was ultimately dropped when Berry agreed to plead guilty to the marijuana charge (reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor) on Nov. 21, 1990. He was sentenced to a suspended six-month jail term, two years' probation and a $5,000 fine.

Berry contended that the marijuana discovered in the house was not his. At the time, Berry said he "has not [used] and does not use or possess marijuana or cocaine." Police were led to believe that the rock legend had a large stash of coke in the house. No illegal white powder was located during the search.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.