Rob Kampia, Executive Director
Rob Kampia co-founded the Marijuana Policy Project in 1995 and has served as its executive director ever since. MPP has been responsible for enacting most of the state-level marijuana laws in the United States since 2000.
Rob co-led the landmark campaign that legalized marijuana in Colorado in 2012. He also orchestrated the passage of similar legalization initiatives in Alaska (2014) and Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada, with an assist in California (2016).
Rob has testified before Congress and dozens of state legislatures. He has also been quoted in almost every U.S. newspaper and has debated prohibitionists on numerous national TV networks.
Rob graduated valedictorian of his high school class in Pennsylvania; served three months in prison for growing marijuana for personal use; was elected student body president of Penn State University; and graduated with honors from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science and a minor in English.
Don Murphy, Director of Conservative Outreach
Don Murphy is a former member of the Maryland General Assembly who defeated the House Majority Leader in 1994. He was the original lead sponsor of the Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act, an affirmative defense bill, which was signed into law in 2003. With a grant from MPP, in 2002, Murphy founded Republicans for Compassionate Access where he organized two political campaigns leading to the defeat of the legislature’s top medical marijuana opponents, one a Republican state senator, the other the Democratic House Speaker.
Don has successfully lobbied in over a dozen states, including Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, and South Carolina, and on Capitol Hill for patient access. In 2008, he was elected chair of the Maryland Delegation to the Republican National Convention. Prior to joining MPP, Murphy was a partner in a bipartisan Annapolis lobbying firm with an eclectic list of clients. Most recently, he was the legislative liaison for the Anne Arundel County Executive.
Matt Schweich, Director of State Campaigns
During the 2016 elections, Matt served as the campaign director for the Yes on 1 Campaign in Maine, the Yes on Prop 205 Campaign in Arizona, and the Yes on 4 Campaign in Massachusetts and was one of the leaders of the Yes on 2 Campaign in Nevada. On November 8, 2016, voters in Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved these ballot initiatives to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Prior to joining MPP in early 2015, Matt worked primarily in Rhode Island politics, first in the Office of the General Treasurer before serving on multiple campaigns at the state and local levels. He also played an important role in guaranteeing that a state-level Constitutional Convention proposal was placed on the 2014 ballot in Rhode Island. Matt is a graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
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 most 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, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and New Hampshire, and during successful decriminalization campaigns in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont. She is responsible for updating MPP’s model legislation, which formed the basis for several laws. In 2011, she was appointed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to serve on the state’s medical marijuana work group.
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 began working 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, and Kentucky. He lives in Manchester, New Hampshire and holds a Master’s degree in English from West Virginia University.
Chris Lindsey, Senior Legislative Counsel, State Policies Department
Chris joined MPP in April 2013 and currently serves as senior legislative counsel. He works with lawmakers, lobbyists, supporters, and members of the activist community in around a dozen states on behalf of MPP. Chris writes and evaluates legislation, lobbies in support of improved marijuana laws, and works with regulatory agencies at the state level in support of sensible regulatory systems.
Chris became a medical marijuana patient in 2006 and became an active member of the medical marijuana community in Montana starting in 2008. As a medical marijuana attorney, Chris represented patients and businesses across the state, including before the Montana Supreme Court. 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 a series of highly publicized raids. Chris currently lives in Missoula, Montana with his father and son.
Becky Dansky, Legislative Counsel, State Policies Department
Becky joined the state policies department at MPP in June 2015. Previously, she worked in the legislative departments of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Interfaith Alliance, the National Council of Jewish Women, and she served as the federal legislative director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Becky first became interested in marijuana policy reform during her treatment for breast cancer. During her first year at MPP, Becky worked closely with advocates and lawmakers in Pennsylvania to assist in the passage of Act 16, which created the state’s first medical marijuana program. In addition to monitoring the implementation of that program, Becky is currently advocating in support of reforms in Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Becky lives in Virginia and holds a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law. She is admitted to the Bar in the District of Columbia.
Kate M. Bell, Legislative Counsel, State Policies Department
Ms. Bell joined the staff of MPP in December 2015 and is working toward reform in D.C., Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Prior to joining MPP, she worked as a criminal defense attorney based in Baltimore, Maryland, where she witnessed first-hand how the racially disparate enforcement of prohibition warps the relationships between police and the communities they serve. In her practice, she regularly represented medical marijuana patients under the affirmative defense law, while also advocating for a broader law that would protect patients from prosecution.
Ms. Bell graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. She has traveled extensively and is now a proud resident of the (future) 51st state.
Maggie Ellinger-Locke, Legislative Counsel, State Policies Department
Maggie Ellinger-Locke joined our State Policies Department as a legislative analyst in December 2015. Prior to joining MPP, she worked as a civil rights and criminal defense attorney in St. Louis, Missouri. She has worked on countless political campaigns involving issues such as police accountability, statewide elections, food sovereignty, gender, and workers’ rights. She served as president of the National Lawyers Guild of St. Louis from Occupy through Ferguson. Prior to law school, Maggie worked as a union and community organizer, and today she is as comfortable in a courtroom as she is in the streets.
Maggie holds a B.A. from Antioch College, where she majored in ecofeminism, and she graduated from City University of New York School of Law in 2011. The Buffalo Environmental Law Journal published her law review article, Food Sovereignty is a Gendered Issue, in 2011.
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), and he 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, Senior 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.
Kelley Crosson, Major Gifts Officer
Kelley works with MPP’s major donors in the Northeast and Florida and has done so since 2009. She testified before the New York City Council in favor of medical marijuana resolutions in 2011 and 2013 and has been interviewed about MPP’s work in multiple states.
In addition to her work for MPP, Kelley has her own horticulture and design business based in New York City — with current and completed projects in New York, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. She received her B.A. in English from the Pennsylvania State University and is also a graduate of the world-renowned School of Professional Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden.
The main emphasis of her horticulture degree and her current practice is low-impact, sustainable design and the use of native plants. She was an instrumental part of the installation team for the 3.5-acre, $15 million Native Plant Garden at the NYBG.
For a full staff listing, click here.