“Keith and I were scheduled afternoon speakers. We smoked a joint behind the booth and out of nowhere an undercover cop half our age came up to say, “You’re arrested.” Every year they have a quota to bust exactly sixty kids. We were among that sixty,” Cusick commences. “If you’re one of those cops working the Commons that day, the last thing you want to do is bust me and Keith Stroup. We’ll eat you for breakfast – which is what we did.”
Keith Stroup, one of the top marijuana lawyers in the United States, graduated University of Illinois during the turbulent ‘60s and founded NORML in 1970. His storied résumé includes becoming part of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers throughout the ‘80s. In ’72, Stroup stood up to dethroned crybaby ex-prez Richard Nixon when ‘Tricky Dick’ rejected the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse’s report claiming marijuana to be relatively harmless and possession of less than one ounce legal. Presently a high-prized consultant-lecturer, Stroup handed over NORML’s directorial post to Allen St. Pierre in ‘04.
“The cops put us in a holding tent. When they found out I was from High Times and Keith headed NORML, they began making cracks. We made cracks back,” Cusick laughingly smirks. “The cop who arrested us kept saying, ‘I don’t give a fuck’ and posturing. The other cop asked us what we thought we were gonna accomplish (at the Freedom Rally). Another cop complained about how we get sixty kids busted every year. I said, ‘We get them arrested? That’s a microcosm. You want a macrocosm. 840,000 people got arrested this year. 600,000 for simple possession and 400,000 were under 25 years old. If Keith and I do our job correctly, next year you guys go back to busting criminals and we go home to get high.’
Cusick and Stroup were then told not to go back to the Commons, but a kindly, understanding, professional police lieutenant told the determined duo to go around the other side of the park and nobody would notice. So they went back to the Freedom Rally and gave a speech onstage about the recent bust.