Marijuana Policy Project Announces Leadership Changes, Begins National Search for New Executive Director
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading marijuana policy reform organization, has announced changes to its leadership structure.
Rob Kampia, who co-founded the organization in 1995, will transition to the new position of director of strategic development. Kampia will continue to serve on the two boards of directors for both MPP and MPP Foundation. The two boards made the decision last week.
Matthew Schweich, who joined MPP as the director of state campaigns in early 2015, will serve as interim executive director as the organization searches for a permanent executive director.
“This transition has been considered carefully by Rob and the board. We desired to shift Rob's workload one year ago after his intense work on the Nevada and Arizona campaigns,” said Troy Dayton, who sits on the boards of directors for MPP and MPP Foundation. “Shortly after Election Day, Rob quickly shifted gears in December to start the Michigan 2018 legalization campaign. With the Michigan signature drive now complete, it is the right time to shift Rob’s focus to new and bigger projects.”
“As the founder and leader of MPP, Rob has made enormous and unparalleled contributions to marijuana policy reform efforts across the country for over two decades,” said René Ruiz, who serves as board treasurer for both MPP and MPP Foundation. “We, as both board members and supporters of this historic movement, thank him for his years of hard work, which have yielded so much success. As a board, we agreed it was time to dedicate Rob to the crucially important tasks of high-level strategy and fundraising.”
Matthew Schweich, the newly appointed interim executive director, joined MPP in March 2015 and served as campaign director for the 2016 legalization ballot initiative campaigns in Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona. He also worked on the successful 2016 Nevada campaign.
“I saw Matthew play an integral leadership role in the legalization victories in Maine and Massachusetts last year,” said Ruiz. “He successfully managed multiple teams across the country during the 2016 election cycle, and he’s the perfect choice to guide MPP through this transition period.”
“I look forward to continuing the important work of our organization,” said Schweich. “I’ve worked closely with Rob for two-and-a-half years, and I am grateful to have his support and assistance as I chart our path forward.”
The boards for MPP and MPP Foundation will begin a national search for a permanent executive director that is expected to last approximately six months.
Statement from Rob Kampia:
“I want to thank the MPP board for dedicating sufficient resources to allow me to focus on strategy and fundraising, while liberating me from managerial duties and other responsibilities.
“Back in 1993, I moved to D.C. three days after graduating from Penn State for the sole purpose of legalizing marijuana. Fully 19 years later, in 2012, MPP stunned the world by legalizing marijuana in Colorado, and in the four years since then, MPP legalized marijuana in four more states, being responsible overall for five of the eight states’ legalization laws.
“When I co-founded MPP in 1995, medical marijuana was illegal in all 50 states, and it had been a decade since a good marijuana bill was even pending in Congress. Since 1995, MPP has passed half of the 29 states’ medical marijuana laws, and MPP was the lead organization that successfully lobbied Congress in 2014 to block the Justice Department from interfering with those state laws, and that amendment from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is still the law nationwide.
“Since co-founding MPP in 1995, the three most emotionally important victories have been legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Nevada in 2012 and 2016 and legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio in 2016.
“One month after Ohio’s Republican legislature and Republican governor enacted our bill into law, I visited Columbus to thank Ohio’s wonderful volunteers at our final campaign event, and a patient with a visible tumor on her neck privately attacked me for leaving her unprotected in the law. When the volunteer leader and I explained that she’s protected because she suffers from debilitating pain, she almost cried in disbelief, and I almost cried when I saw that disbelief blossom into relief.
“I’m looking forward to spending more time on Capitol Hill to help craft and pass the best possible legalization law nationally. I also want to focus on legalizing marijuana in three of the 10 most populous states – Texas, New York, and Michigan.
“Just yesterday, our Michigan campaign submitted a sufficient number of signatures to that state government, virtually guaranteeing that Michigan will be the only state to vote in November 2018 on a statewide ballot measure to legalize marijuana.
“I'm honored to have served as executive director, I'm excited the board chose the person I nominated to serve as interim executive director, and I'm energized to help identify a new executive director to finish the job of ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S.”