smuggler told him to come to an address on
New York’s Lower East Side.
‘I got up there and it’s an apartment with no electricity,’ he says, ‘and I
walk in the door and the whole room is filled with bales of marijuana! It
was a stash house! And I’m saying, ‘Forcade, what are you doing? I don’t
know if I’m being followed.’ But we needed the money and I took the money.’
On a Roll
There was a time, back in the ’70s, when Keith Stroup was about as close to
a rock star as Washington lobbyists ever get.
He hung out with the Allman Brothers and Jimmy Buffett. He partied with
Willie Nelson and presidential son Chip Carter. He had sex in the fabled
grotto at the Playboy mansion, where Hugh Hefner hosted a NORML fundraiser.
The man they called ‘Mr. Marijuana’ grew up on a farm in southern Illinois.
His mother was a devout Baptist. His father was a building contractor and
Republican Party activist who stashed a bottle of whiskey under the front
seat of his Lincoln Continental so he could take a snort when his wife
Stroup graduated from the University of Illinois in 1965 — after a
one-year expulsion for drunken frat boy high jinks — and headed for
Washington. He enrolled in Georgetown Law School and, using his dad’s GOP
connections, landed a $50-a-week job in the office of Sen. Everett Dirksen
of Illinois. The work was dull, but it gave Stroup a taste for Capitol Hill
wheeling and dealing.
Meanwhile he’d begun smoking pot and marching in antiwar demonstrations,
He finished law school in 1968, got married and took a job on the newly
formed federal Commission on Product Safety. That job put Stroup in contact
with Ralph Nader, then a hot young consumer advocate.
Inspired by Nader’s work, Stroup got an idea: He’d create a consumer group
for pot smokers, an organization to lobby for
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