Lennon's arrest came 40 years after the Dangerous Drugs Act passed into law (on 28 September 1928), making cannabis possession illegal. The first arrest for cannabis under the Act took place at the Number 11 Club, in London's Soho, in 1952.
In 1967, 2,393 persons were arrested for cannabis offences in the UK. In 2003, the last year before it was reclassified as a Class C drug, there were 77,500 convictions or cautions. This fell to 45,390 in 2004, when 27,520 street warnings were given for cannabis possession that would otherwise have led to prosecutions or cautions.
In the US, the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report revealed a record 829,625 arrests for marijuana violations in 2006, the vast majority of them for simple possession.