Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs in the United States and as a result, has a lot of supporters of its legalization. There are a variety of organizations who gather together to fight for marijuana reform and then there are individuals who protest and fight legislation on their own. However, the largest group working on marijuana policy reform is known as the Marijuana Policy Project. This group has the most members, staff, and the largest budget of any group fighting for this cause.

The Marijuana Policy Project has four main objectives, which are:

  • To increase public support for non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies
  • To find and activate any other supporters of these same changes to marijuana policies
  • To change state laws to either reduce or completely eliminate penalties for the medical and non-medical use of marijuana
  • To achieve an influential role in Congress

The Marijuana Policy Project aims to be objective and realistic with their goals, so they advocate the taxing of the sale of marijuana as well as regulating the possession of it. They envision this process to be similar to that of alcohol because their aim is to create a nation where people are educated about marijuana, responsible, and the treatment for problems associated with it are non-coercive and reduce harm.

Rob Kampia, Chuck Thomas, and Mike Kirshner are the founding members of the Marijuana Policy Project and before this venture they worked at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Amid a lot of fighting within the NORML organization, its director fired Kampia and Thomas because they wanted to see big changes in the organization and as a result were seen as being controversial. At the same time, Kirshner decided to quit , NORML on his own and the three men began developing their own organization, which implemented all the ideas that they had been pushing for and were eventually fired for at NORML.

The Marijuana Policy Project was officially incorporated on January 25, 1995 as a not-for-profit organization in the District of Columbia. The group quickly surpassed that of NORML in its members and funding to help them become what is not the largest and most powerful marijuana policy reform group in the United States. They have over 32,000 members who pay dues every year, 21 staff members, and their annual budget is $2.85 million. As the Marijuana Policy Project continues their fight, they also continue to grow in size and support every year.