Marijuana Policy Project

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Marijuana Policy Project
Founded 1995, by Rob Kampia and Chuck Thomas
Headquarters Washington D.C. , United States
Industry Non-profit

The Marijuana Policy Project, or MPP, is an organization founded in 1995 in the United States. The goal of the MPP is to remove criminal penalties for possession or use of marijuana. The group places specific emphasis on making medical marijuana available to people who are seriously ill and would benefit from its effects.

As of 2009, the MPP has 27,000 members, 100,000 e-mail subscribers, 36 staffers, and an annual budget of about $6 million. [1]


Rob Kampia was first arrested for growing marijuana in 1989 while in college at Penn State University. He served 3 months in prison and ultimately decided to fight the laws that put him there. Immediately after graduation from Penn State, he began working for NORML. After leaving NORML, he and Chuck Thomas founded the Marijuana Policy Project in January of 1995. At the time, medical marijuana was illegal in all 50 states. Initially, it was "a bare-bones operation that operated out of Rob's apartment."[2] Within a matter of two years, the MPP became the nation's leading marijuana reform interest group.


Kampia and Thomas were employed by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). They were fired after expressing displeasure with the direction the group was heading. Immediately after this the two formed the MPP where they were in charge and would have the freedom to do with the group as they wished. Kampia claims to have gone over six thousand dollars in debt just starting the MPP. He and Thomas forfeited their salaries during the first year of operation. [3]

Current objectives and activities

The Marijuana Policy Project has four current goals.

1. Increase public support for non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies.

2. Identify and activate supporters of non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies.

3. Change state laws to reduce or eliminate penalties for the medical and non-medical use of marijuana.

4. Gain influence in Congress. [4]

Organizational structure

The MPP has three main branches within the organization. There is a lobbying branch, an educational branch, and a political action committee.


The MPP has achieved many significant feats over the course of its short existence. These accomplishments include: reduced penalties for marijuana cultivation resulting in the early release of hundreds of prisoners; introducing medical marijuana bills to Congress, with debating and voting taking place every year from 2003 to 2007; and the legalization of medical marijuana in 13 states.[5] These states include (in alphabetical order) Alaska (1998), California (U.S. state) (1996), Colorado (2000), Hawaii (U.S. state) (2000), Maine (1999), Michigan (2008), Montana (2004), Nevada (2000), New Mexico (2007), Oregon (1998), Rhode Island (2006), Vermont (2004), Washington (U.S. state) (1998).[6] Currently, as many as seven more states are closing in on medical marijuana legislation in 2010 or 2011. These states are Delaware, Illinois (U.S. state), Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York.[7]

Public perception and controversies