“Robin Scott, the Cannabis Guru”
Former top scholar at Rugby School, and graduate of Oxford University, where I specialised in Religious and Political Philosophy, I first smoked Cannabis at the age of 18 in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, in the Summer of Love 1967. I first cultivated Cannabis in Scotland in 1972 – the story of which is told in my book The Case for Cannabis – published last year. A former Scientologist and veteran Yoga practitioner, I spent three years & three months in prison in the UK in the 1990s for growing the best and most potent Cannabis ever recorded at that time, a record I’m proud of!”
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As I have mentioned in my previous articles, I first smoked Cannabis at the age of 18 in San Francisco in the legendary Summer of Love of 1967, with my good friend Kit Carson and his beautiful wife, the famous film star Karen Black. Soon afterwards, I returned to England, and spent the next three years at Oxford University, where I belonged to a group of original hippies who gathered in a friend’s flat occasionally to enjoy smoking Hash and listening to great music.
But it wasn’t until the summer of 1969 that I met my best mate, Valentine ‘Mervyn’ Weisz, a leading dealer on the London scene, from whom I was then able to obtain a regular supply of high-quality Hash, as well as some most excellent LSD from time to time. Mervyn was a charismatic figure; I think he used the name Mervyn as a version of Merlin, and there was definitely something of the magician about him – the magic man. We were both in our early 20s at the time and we became firm friends over the next few years. We were alike in many ways – twins almost – we looked alike, spoke the same language, dressed in the same style, and rode matching BSA 650cc motorbikes; so, we had a great deal in common.
I met Mervyn through our mutual friends in high society. During my time at Oxford, I socialised with a wide circle of aristocratic friends, and during 1969 my sister Caroline was a debutante, so we were invited to many grand dances and parties. One of her contemporaries was a very beautiful young woman Caroline Reed, whose father was a senior figure in British Intelligence, married to a French woman. Caroline Reed was the girlfriend of my friend Mervyn, and she shared a very elegant apartment in Knightsbridge with Lady Rose Yorke, a daughter of the Earl of Hardwicke.
After I graduated from Oxford in 1970, I shared a flat in Holland Park with friends and I used to spend many of my evenings with Mervyn, Caroline Reed and Rose Yorke in her beautiful flat, smoking Cannabis and listening to music. The four of us were constant companions in the early 70s, often going to concerts together and experimenting with pscychedelic drugs like LSD and Mescaline.
In those days, before celebrity culture, it was the titled aristocracy that filled the newspapers and the gossip columns. Interestingly enough, it was also the same rich elite who were the pioneers of psychedelic drugs – partly because they had the money and the leisure to dabble, but also because they were highly intelligent, well-educated and spiritually adventurous. One of my best friends during those years was Hal Charteris, whose father Martin Charteris was Private Secretary to the Queen. I remember going to parties in
St James’ Palace, where they lived at the time, very glamorous. I particularly recall visiting Hal in Oxford in 1971 and we drove out together in his convertible MGB to Blenheim Palace, where we shared a tab of LSD in the autumn sunshine.
Another good friend during those years was the vivacious socialite Hon Emma Soames, granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, and subsequently the editor of Saga magazine. She was good friends with the Royal Family, and my sister and I attended a number of dances where both Prince Charles and Princess Anne were present. On one especially memorable occasion, Emma invited my sister and me to her dance given by her parents Lord and Lady Soames at the British Embassy in Paris – a truly grand affair attended, not only by our own Royal Family, but also most of the crowned heads of Europe.
My sister Caroline and I had enjoyed a wonderful dinner before the dance with our friend the Maharajah of Jodhpur and, during the dance itself, I spent the evening dancing with Sophie van den Bosch, the daughter of the Belgian Ambassador, who was a good friend. At one point, Sophie and I strolled down through the Embassy gardens towards the Champs-Élysées, when we came across her beautiful sister Caroline van den Bosch, who was sitting in a leafy glade with her boyfriend, the Hon Anthony Ramsay, the son of the Earl of Dalhousie, a friend of mine from Oxford – and Anthony Ramsay was rolling a joint! This was such an epic gesture, given the company that we were in, and the fact that Cannabis was still frowned upon in respectable conventional circles! Definitely a high point in my life!
The last time I saw Mervyn was in 1978, when I returned from Florida, where I had been working for the Church of Scientology. Mervyn and I spent some time together that year, including a Bob Dylan concert in London. During the 70s he had become a leading Cocaine dealer, supplying the drug to rock stars and his aristocratic friends – something that I never shared with him, thankfully. During an evening at his apartment in Onslow Square, Chelsea, Mervyn confided in me an interesting story:
Mervyn had been introduced to Prince Charles one evening by a mutual friend Catherine Guinness. The purpose of the introduction was to discuss Cocaine, since Catherine knew that Mervyn was a leading London dealer. According to Mervyn, Prince Charles was evidently familiar with Cocaine use at that time. Mervyn showed me a hand-written letter from Prince Charles, on blue notepaper with the three feathers at the top – the Prince of Wales’s insignia crest. The letter simply stated that the Prince had been delighted to meet him, and looked forward to getting together in the future – nothing more. I have no reason to doubt the validity of Mervyn’ story, and I have no knowledge whether Mervyn ever supplied the Prince with Cocaine.
But I learned some years later that Mervyn had been killed in a plane crash in Spain in 1986. I was sad that his life had dwindled down a spiral that I have always attributed to his involvement with Cocaine. I also read more recently that the security forces will sometimes blow up a whole plane load of innocent people just to kill one targeted individual. I can’t help wondering if Mervyn knew more than was good for him. Catherine Guinness later married Viscount Neidpath, now the Earl of Wemyss, an acquaintance of mine at Oxford and someone who has been involved with psychedelic research for many years now. The full story of those exciting years, and how I began to cultivate Cannabis myself as early as 1972, is told in my book The Case for Cannabis, available from my website.
© Copyright Robin Scott 2021