LONDON -- Former Beatle Paul McCartney's wife, Linda, was arrested for possession of marijuana today on the couple's arrival from Barbados, where they had been fined for having pot.
'Linda McCartney was charged with possessing cannabis and will have to appear in court on Jan. 24,' a spokesman for Scotland Yard said about the arrest at London's Heathrow Airport. He would not specify how much marijuana Mrs. McCartney was carrying or where she had hidden it.
The American-born Mrs. McCartney was released on unconditional bail.
On his arrival in London with his wife and four children, Paul had appealed for the decriminalization of marijuana, saying it was less harmful than drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or sniffing glue.
'Let's get one thing straight, whatever you think I've done, this substance cannabis is a whole lot less harmful than rum punch, whiskey, nicotine and glue, all of which are perfectly legal,' McCartney told reporters at the airport.
'I'd like to see it decriminalized. Let's face it, this is something I like to do -- having a drop of cannabis,' McCartney said.
'Really, we (himself and his wife) would both like to get off cannabis.'
McCartney, 41, and Linda, flew in from Barbados where the millionaire musician was fined $100 Monday on his second marijuana offense in four years.
The couple was arrested in Bridgetown, Barbados Sunday for possessing just under half an ounce of marijuana, police said. They pleaded guilty -- four years to the day after McCartney was arrested at the Tokyo airport for traveling into Japan with half a pound of marijuana. The Jan. 16, 1980, arrest forced the cancellation of his tour of Japan and the star spent nine days in a Tokyo jail before being deported.
'I've got absolutely no grudges,' McCartney said at Heathrow of the Barbados incident. 'It was a small amount of cannabis and I intended to use it but the police came to my place and I gave them 10 grams of cannabis. Linda had another small carton of cannabis in her handbag.'
McCartney, who was wearing a button on his black jacket that read 'Leave me alone, I'm having a crisis,' said he and his American-born wife 'want to go back to Barbados but really we would both like to get off cannabis.
'I think it's very much better than drinking large loads of whiskey or rum or sniffing glue or other things people use to solve their problems,' he said of marijuana. 'I think it's much less harmful.'
When asked by a reporter if he would give up smoking marijuana, McCartney said: 'I will never smoke again but again I can't really promise.
McCartney had promised he would give up smoking after he was arrested in Japan.
He and his wife had been vacationing on the Caribbean island for two weeks when police, acting on a tip, raided the rented home where they were staying in St. James parish Sunday.
McCartney, one of the world's wealthiest and most successful musicians, appeared before Judge Haynes Blackman with his wife and pleaded guilty to possession of 10 grams of marijuana.
Mrs. McCartney, an American photographer who frequently accompanies her husband in recordings, admitted possessing seven grams. There are 28.4 grams in an ounce.
The McCartneys, who said nothing in court, were represented by Barbadian lawyer David Simmonds, who told the judge McCartney had a considerable international reputation.
'He is a very talented and creative person,' Simmonds said of the former Beatle. 'People who have this talent sometimes need inspiration.'
Blackman said the McCartneys cooperated with police and fined them $100 each or 14 days in jail. They paid the fine immediately and left the courthouse.
Chief Immigration officer Kenrick Hutson said the couple was not deported and would be allowed back into Barbados. They had been booked on the Monday night flight to London before the incident occurred.