There’s a common belief that drug laws mostly target the less wealthy, and while that’s probably true as a whole there are still plenty of rich and famous people who’ve run afoul of the law for simple possession. We’ve compiled 100 of the most famous celebrity drug busts of all time. Some you will have heard of, but many will surprise and shock you. On to the list:
100. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Played basketball for 20 years in the NBA! 1998– Paid fines after surrendering a small amount of marijuana at a Toronto airport. 2000– Arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. Said he used it to help with the nausea from migraines. Yeah Yeah. Wipe the Doritos of your lips and tell me how I can get on that bandwagon.
99. Gregg Allman
Part of The Allman Brothers Band with *gasp* his brother Duane. 1976– Arrested on federal drug charges but got out of any penalties by agreeing to testify against a friend/tour manager/bodyguard. This understandably helped the rift in the band grow so Gregg did his own thing and has been sober since the mid-90s.
98. Louis Armstrong
The puffy cheeked jazz wonder was arrested in 1931 for marijuana possession but the charge was later suspended. Isn’t lung power kind of important in that whole trumpet playing thing? Oh you’re right. I doubt he was inhaling.
97. Hoyt Axton
The country musician and his wife were both arrested in 1997 at their Montana house when they were found with approximately 500 grams of marijuana in their possession. That’s a little over a pound! His wife’s claim was she was giving Hoyt some marijuana to help ease his stress and pain following a 1995 stroke. Um..how much pain is this man in that they need to possess a pound of weed? They both were fined and their sentences were deferred.
96. Sebastian Bach
Lead singer for the heavy metal band Skid Row from the late 80s to 1996 (when he was fired), he was well known for his bottle throwing and wearing controversial t-shirts on stage. Not to be confused with Johann S.B. (the classical composer-even though this Bach also had some “what-was-I-thinking-then” hair), the current Bach was arrested in 2002 for two bags(about 5 grams) of marijuana and some rolling papers. I’m stuck on picturing Johann Sebastian Bach stoned out of his gourd trying to compose some trippy music on the piano.
95. Mischa Barton
Best known for her work in the teen hit The O.C., oh, and dating that scuzzy guy Brandon Davis for a minute, Barton was arrested in 2007. She was apparently pulled over after driving all over the road. Hello! Don’t be driving all over the road when you are drunk/high and don’t have a license. I can’t think of a better time to focus on staying between the two white lines, I mean yellow and white….you know, in your lane. She got charged with two misdemeanors and a DUI and is on probation for three years.
94. Ol’ Dirty Bastard
First things first. Why advertise what kind of guy you are right in your name? Why not, like, Knight In Shining Armor? And in case anyone else thinks this, it’s down with O.P.P. not O.D.B. Naughty by Nature song. O.D.B. wasn’t involved. Moving on. This guy has a long rap(haha, get it, he raps) sheet of drug charges like in 1999 when he got arrested for some traffic violations and having crack cocaine and shortly there after for having 20 vials of crack and some marijuana. Oh, and in case this is on Jeopardy, he was the first person arrested for being a convicted felon wearing a bulletproof vest under a new California law. I guess once you’re a convicted felon, your chest is open territory for bullets. 2000-he escaped from his court-mandated drug treatment facility and spent one month as a fugitive. He ended up dying in 2004 from an accidental drug overdose.
93. Chuck Berry
The singer found himself in a few run-ins with the law over the years and was no stranger to prison but it wasn’t anything related to drugs. Armed robbery, underage prostitutes and some tax evasion. You know. The usual rock n’ roll stuff. 1990- his house was raided because authorities heard he was dealing cocaine. They confiscated marijuana and hashish and pornographic videotapes and films but charges against him were later dropped. Just for fun – go find and download “My Ding-a-ling.” Just try and not to sing a long.
92. Bo Bice
The long haired American Idol runner up lived up to the stereotype his tresses implied by getting arrested for marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia, and public intoxication in 2003. He stayed out of jail by agreeing to enter a drug program. A haircut should be step 1. Just two years earlier, he had been arrested for scoring cocaine in a strip club. Another stereotype. So what now Bo? Hit us with another stereotype.
91. Notorious B.I.G.
Tidbit I didn’t know until today: I believe the B.I.G. stands for “business instead of games.” Maybe I’m just out of the loop on that one and it’s old news but just in case you were in the dark like me, there you go. 1991-before fame hit- arrested for dealing cocaine and spent 9 months in jail waiting to make bail. 1996- arrested for having 50 grams of marijuana and four automatic weapons. Arrested again in the same year for being caught smoking weed in a car. Sadly, the rapper’s life was taken in 1997 before some of charges against him could be resolved.
90. David Bowie
The singer with the ever-changing persona was arrested in 1976 for marijuana possession and had about half a pound on him. The maximum sentence he would have received was 15 years but the charges were later dropped and Bowie continued doing his thing. Good thing since his heavy cocaine use through the years brought out quite an interesting side of the artist. Ziggy Stardust anyone?
89. Bobby Brown
Man the late 80’s were good to Bobby Brown. First with New Edition then his own solo gig. Brown was on top of the world. Along with that whole lifestyle came, of course, the drugs. 1995- he checked into the Betty Ford rehab clinic but this wasn’t the first stint in rehab and none of the stays seemed to help. He was still arrested multiple times for drunk driving, cocaine use, marijuana possession, and multiple parole violations. 2000-two months in jail after refusing to take a drug test. 2002-marijuana possession. He’s got a nice collection of mugshots that I’m sure he has framed next to a pic of him with his trademark fade haircut.
88. James Brown
The name is synonymous with a cape and big hair. His presentation was sometimes more exciting than the music itself and that excitement carried over to other parts of his life. 1988-part of a high-speed car chase along the Georgia-South Caroline border that ended in his conviction of carrying an unlicensed pistol, assaulting a police officer, and other drug-related and driving offenses. He served 3 years of a six year sentence. 1998- arrested on charges of marijuana possession and unlawful use of a firearm- came one week after leaving the hospital to get treated for a painkiller addiction. His last words before he died in 2006 were “I’m hopping on the night train.”
87. Orlando Brown
Actor best known for his role on “That’s So Raven”. 2007- pulled over for driving without his lights on. Police found 9 grams of marijuana in the car which he claimed to belong to friends. No word on that story line will be incorporated into any future Disney productions.
86. Lenny Bruce
An obscene comic born well before his time,(he was arrested for obscenity because he said “cocksucker”) Bruce’s obscenity wasn’t just part of his act, it was a legal problem. But seriously. Who doesn’t hear “cocksucker” and laugh? While not being obscene, he was smoking weed apparently because he was arrested for possession of marijuana in 1961 and again in 1963.
85. Marcus Camby
The 6’11” basketball player( honestly, what else would he do? paint ceilings?) was second overall in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft and went to the Toronto Raptors. 1997-arrested for marijuana possession after being pulled over for a traffic stop. (Does anyone else see the connection in traffic stops and marijuana possession arrests? People, keep the weed in a better spot! I know these cops aren’t tearing up the car a la the border patrol.) He agreed to a deal that would dismiss all charges against him after 16 hours of community service. (16 hours? I think some high school students have to do that to graduate. But hey, it’s cool. Another unknown lesson in high school: preparation for marijuana possession punishment.)
84. Jennifer Capriati
She started out as a child prodigy in tennis then decided to shoplift and smoke weed in a moment of teen angst. 1994- arrested on marijuana possession. She came back to be a kick butt tennis star even though her age is starting to be a problem now. (I definitely need to get a job where my peak working time is over after 30!) People seemed to forget about the weed and shoplifting and love her all over again when she made her comeback. See Winona Ryder, there’s hope for you after all.
83. Michael Carroll
Michael used to be a binman(British talk for trashman-I like their version better) and then hit it big in the lotto, winning $15.4 million.(I translated that from pounds because I’m not sure how to type that symbol and I’m pretty sure you can get on a money converter website if you want the full story in British.) Anyways, Michael went a bit crazy buying everything he could and was rarely seen without some bling on. 2006-arrested for possession of nearly $2000 worth of cocaine. Escaped a jail sentence but had to go to a 12 month drug testing and treatment center. Sounds like the party is over because when he got out of jail, he had to take out a loan to maintain his new lifestyle. See. Now aren’t you glad you haven’t won the lotto yet!
82. Aaron Carter
Every time I hear this kid’s name I think two things: Lindsay Lohan/Hilary Duff love triangle and that stupid “Aaron’s Party(Come Get it)” crap of a song that gets stuck in my head. 2008-February- he was pulled over for speeding and less than 2 ounces of marijuana were found in the car. Does anyone else remember that show House of Carters? I think I would need more than 2 ounces to deal with that family!
81. Neal Cassady
Author. 1958- offered to share a small amount of marijuana with an undercover cop in a San Fransisco night club and ended up in San Quentin prison for two years. Be stingy with that marijuana! Especially in public.