Key Staff
Rob Kampia, Executive Director

Rob co-founded MPP in January 1995 and has been its executive director ever since.

Rob co-authored most of the medical marijuana laws currently on the books in 16 states and the District of Columbia, with MPP taking a leading role in passing the laws in Hawaii (2000), Montana (2004), Vermont (2004), Rhode Island (2006), Michigan (2008), Maine (2009), Arizona (2010), and Delaware (2011)

Rob also oversaw the campaign to decriminalize the possession of marijuana in Massachusetts, where voters passed MPP's ballot initiative in 2008.  This is the only state to decriminalize marijuana via a vote of the people.

Rob has testified before a U.S. House subcommittee twice (2001 and 2004), and has also testified before legislative committees in California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington state.

Rob has been quoted in almost every newspaper in the U.S., and has appeared on national TV dozens of times, including the "Today Show" (NBC), the "Montel Williams Show" (CBS), the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" (PBS), "Glenn Beck" (Fox News Channel), "Anderson Cooper 360" (CNN), "Power Lunch" (MSNBC), "Geraldo Rivera Live" (CNBC), "Happy Hour" (Fox Business Network), and the special "Marijuana: A Chronic History (History Channel).

Rob grew up in Harleysville, Pennsylvania; graduated valedictorian of his high school class in 1986; served three months in a county jail in central Pennsylvania from 1989 to 1990 for growing marijuana for personal use; was elected student body president of Penn State University in 1992; and graduated with honors from Penn State University in 1993 with a major in Engineering Science and a minor in English.

Rob has lived in the District of Columbia since graduating from college in 1993, except for a seven-month stint in Austin, Texas, in 2007. Rob is single and has no children. Rob spends his free time reading, bicycling, traveling, and listening to heavy-metal music.

Click here for Rob's 200-word bio.

Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies  

As director of federal policies, Dan executes MPP's lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Prior to his promotion to this position, Dan served for 3.5 years as a Legislative Analyst in the State Policies department.

Dan joined MPP in October 2009. Shortly thereafter, following MPP's successful campaign to remove the so-called Barr Amendment, Dan led MPP's efforts in the D.C. Council and Department of Health, authoring the numerically scored competitive bidding process used to award licenses to cultivation centers and dispensaries. In 2011, Dan was instrumental in expanding Vermont's medical marijuana law to include state-regulated dispensaries and led the lobbying effort to provide patients with debilitating medical conditions in Maryland with an affirmative defense against charges of marijuana possession. In 2013 he shepherded medical marijuana legislation through the Illinois legislature, making it the second largest medical marijuana state and capping off a 10-year lobbying effort by MPP, as well as expanding Maryland's legal protections to caregivers and establishing a statewide medical marijuana research program. 

Prior to joining MPP, Dan practiced law as an assistant prosecutor in Vinton County, Ohio. He also worked in the office of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, the Ohio EPA, and Columbus Legal Aid Society. He is a graduate of the Ohio State University and received his J.D. from Capital University Law School, where he served on the Law Review and National Moot Court Team and received numerous scholarships, including one for his service in the chambers of U.S. District Court Judge Algernon Marbley. He lives with his wife Jessica on Capitol Hill.

Karen O'Keefe, Director of State Policies  

As MPP's director of state policies, Karen O'Keefe manages MPP's grassroots and direct lobbying efforts in state legislatures.
 


Karen has worked at MPP since 2003. She played a significant role in MPP's successful medical marijuana campaigns in Montana (2004) and Rhode Island (2006). Karen has managed MPP’s state legislative department during medical marijuana victories in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Illinois, and during successful decriminalization campaigns in Rhode Island and Vermont. She is responsible for updating MPP's model legislation, which formed the basis for medical marijuana laws in Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Montana, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. In 2011, she was appointed by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to serve on the state's medical marijuana work group.

Karen earned her J.D. from Loyola School of Law, New Orleans, where she received the Gillis Long Public Service award and the Crowe Scholar award. She is admitted to the Bar in the District of Columbia.

Robert J. Capecchi, Deputy Director of State Policies  

As one of four legislative analysts in MPP’s State Policies Department, Robert is the point person for MPP’s legislative work in about a quarter of the various state legislatures.

Robert joined the MPP staff in October of 2009. He played a major role in the MPP-led effort to remove the criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in Rhode Island while simultaneously redrafting that state’s medical marijuana dispensary system, resulting in a program that Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee allowed to move forward. In addition to Rhode Island, Robert works in concert with legislators, lobbyists, fellow activists, allied organizations, and constituents in the following states: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Robert is a 2008, cum laude graduate of William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was formerly employed by Cook, Hill, Girard Associates, a contract-lobbying firm in St. Paul. Robert has been quoted in various publications including the AP, The Providence Journal, The Providence Phoenix, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Robert has been a guest on C-SPAN’s "The Washington Journal" and Al Jazeera's "The Stream."

Matt Simon, New England Political Director and Legislative Analyst, State Policies Department  

Matt has been working since 2007 to reform marijuana laws in New Hampshire, lobbying and organizing in support of medical marijuana legislation that finally passed into law in 2013 (after having been vetoed by the governor in both 2009 and 2012).

From 2007-2010, Matt served as executive director for the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy. In 2011, he worked as New Hampshire communications director for Governor Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign, and in December 2011, he began working as a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project.

A former college English instructor, Matt believes respectful and effective communication is key to successful reform efforts. In 2013, his efforts bore fruit in Vermont as well as in New Hampshire; Matt was heavily involved in the successful campaign for Vermont's new decriminalization law.

Matt is currently advocating in support of reforms in New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Kentucky. He lives in Goffstown, New Hampshire and holds a Master’s degree in English from West Virginia University.

Chris Lindsey, Legislative Analyst, State Policies Department  

Chris joined MPP in April 2013 and serves as a legislative analyst. He works with community leaders, lobbyists, and legislators in over a dozen states and U.S. territories to change marijuana laws. He evaluates and drafts legislation, lobbies in support of improved marijuana laws, and communicates with supporters on behalf of MPP.

Chris has been active in the medical marijuana community in Montana since 2008. He has testified before legislators and committees, conducted legal seminars, participated in legislative work groups to establish a regulatory framework for medical marijuana, and lobbied on behalf of marijuana organizations. Chris has published numerous articles on criminal law and societal change related to marijuana. 

Chris is a medical marijuana attorney and has brought cases to the Montana Supreme Court in both civil and criminal matters on behalf of medical marijuana caregivers and patients. He has also seen the harsh side of federal prohibition policies. In 2011, he was charged as a co-conspirator for violating federal law due to his participation in a 2009 medical marijuana business following several highly-publicized raids.  Chris lives in Missoula, Montana with his wife and son.

Rachelle Yeung, Legislative Analyst, State Policies Department

Rachelle joined MPP as a legislative analyst in 2013. She works with activists and legislators to pass medical marijuana, decriminalization, and tax and regulate laws in nearly 20 different states and territories, as varied as Maryland and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rachelle first became involved with marijuana policy reform as a college student, volunteering in sign-waving and signature-collecting rallies in Southern California. Several years later, she founded the University of Colorado Law School chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), which went on to win the Rising Star Chapter award at the SSDP International Conference. In 2012, she played a key role in protesting the "crackdown" against 4/20 activities by the CU-Boulder administration. Rachelle went on to work as the legal intern for Sensible Colorado — a nonprofit organization that was crucial in passing Colorado's historic Amendment 64, legalizing marijuana for adult use — and then at Vicente Sederberg, the state's foremost marijuana law firm.

Rachelle received her JD from the University of Colorado Law School, where she also led the student body as President of the Student Bar Association.
Mason Tvert, Director of Communications  

As director of communications, Mason oversees MPP's media strategy and online outreach efforts out of the organization's Denver office. Prior to taking over MPP's communications department, he co-directed the successful campaign in support of Amendment 64, the 2012 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado. In January 2013, the Denver Post named him the state's  "Top Thinker" in the area of politics and government.

Previously, Mason co-founded and directed Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), a Colorado-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. In this role, he was the driving force behind the campaigns in support of the successful Denver ballot initiatives to remove all penalties for adult marijuana possession (2005) and designate it the city’s lowest law enforcement priority (2007). In 2005, he was appointed to the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel by then-Mayor John Hickenlooper. Mason has also worked with students to pass marijuana policy reform referendums at more than a dozen large colleges and universities around the nation. He is currently a member of the SAFER board of directors and a member of the advisory board for Marijuana Majority.

Mason is a co-author of Marijuana Is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink? (Chelsea Green, 2009) has contributed columns to several state and national publications. He has been quoted in hundreds of articles in local and national publications, and he is frequently interviewed by local and national television and radio stations. Mason is a graduate of the University of Richmond. During his time as a student, he worked in the Virginia State Senate, the Phoenix City Council Office, and the Office of the Arizona Attorney General

Morgan Fox, Communications Manager  

As communications manager, Morgan Fox handles the day-to-day media needs of MPP's reform efforts on the state and federal levels. In addition to interviews and providing information to reporters, Morgan is a frequent contributor to the MPP blog and has authored articles that have been published in news outlets nationwide.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Morgan has been working at MPP since moving to the District of Columbia in 2008. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University.


Eric Smith, Director of IT  

As MPP’s IT Director, Eric Smith oversees all of MPP’s technology needs, including data management and MPP’s Web site. He specializes in helping MPP maximize the use of technology to amplify its campaigns and staff efficiency, and his expertise has attracted top-notch IT professionals to MPP.

Eric spent 15 years working in IT for the University of Minnesota, where he coordinated networks and systems administration, trained faculty and staff, and was involved with Web design, research, and a variety of scientific publications.

 

 

 

 



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