ragtag folks! Look at

the guys without their shirts on!’

He points to a poster on the wall and reads its message aloud: ‘It’s only a

weed that turns to a flower in your mind.’ He laughs. ‘That’s a period

piece, too.’

Decorating his filing cabinet are stickers — ‘Just Say Yes to

Legalization’ — and a backstage pass from a Willie Nelson concert. Nelson,

famously fond of the weed, is a longtime NORML supporter.

‘Over the years, we’ve built up a nice friendship,’ Stroup says. ‘He’s

going to sponsor a celebrity NORML golf tournament in 2005.’

Stoned golf?

Stroup laughs. ‘It’s a lot less competitive,’ he says.

He picks up a picture frame that contains a typed letter. It’s the note

that accompanied $10,000 in cash left on the doorstep of NORML’s office in

the summer of 1976.

‘Officially, it was an anonymous gift,’ Stroup says, smiling mischievously,

‘but I knew who it was.’

The money came from Tom Forcade, the legendary pot smuggler who founded

High Times, the marijuana magazine, in 1974 and helped bankroll NORML

before he committed suicide in 1978. Forcade’s letter claimed the $10,000

was a donation from ‘The Confederation,’ a fictitious group of dope growers

and smugglers. It concluded: ‘Karma prevails. Venceremos.’

Stroup turned that gift into a media event, calling a news conference and

spreading the well-worn $10 and $20 bills across a table for photographers.

Today Stroup is a bit embarrassed by that publicity stunt. ‘It was a little

close to the line,’ he says. ‘I was nervous about the whole thing going

down, but I played along with it. If I did that today, the FBI and the DEA

would have me before a grand jury in no time.’

Back in the ’70s, though, it seemed perfectly normal for NORML to call a

dope smuggler when it ran short of cash. One day, Stroup recalls, he called

Forcade for a donation and the

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