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

wasn’t looking.

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,

sometimes simultaneously.

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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