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Friday, March 24, 2017

The MPP in Michigan: Who Is Being Paid For Doing What? - by Tim Beck



     For all intents and purposes, there is going to be a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Michigan in 2018. It will be coordinated by the famous Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) which was primarily responsible for legalization victories in Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon.

    If it were not for MPP’s money and assistance, medical marijuana would not have become legal in Michigan in 2008.

   Some MMM Report readers might be interested in who is responsible for the 2018 ground game as of this writing.

At the pinnacle is ROB KAMPIA founder and executive director of MPP.

One can spend hours googling Mr. Kampia on cannabis policy reform (and other activities) going back to the 1990's.

     Rob has had his ups and downs in life and politics. However, he always seems to have a way of emerging on top. MPP is his creation. He plays his cards close to the vest, has a sardonic sense of humor, worldwide contacts, and is a national master of the ballot initiative process. He can be controlling and even mean with certain types of people. Some say his goal is to win, because that is the right thing to do. He is a man on a mission to legalize cannabis one way or another in the USA.

BRANDON LYNAUGH is Campaign Manager. A native of New York State, he majored in Political Science at Michigan State University class of 1996. Upon graduation, he became a legislative aide in the Ohio Legislature. He moved on to a management position at the “Buckeye Institute”, a Columbus based public policy think tank. After five years at Buckeye, he went on to be key player in the public relations and issues management firm of “Strategic Public Partners”. In early 2016 he founded his own political consulting firm called “Battleground Strategies”. The persona he projects is pragmatic, focused and unsentimental.

State Representative JEFF IRWIN (term limited) is Political Director. He was rated "most liberal” member of the Michigan House of Representatives by Lansing insider publications like “Inside Michigan Politics” and “MIRS News.” He has introduced bills to legalize marijuana and played a serious role in asset forfeiture reform. He is respected by members of the majority party in Lansing, even if they do not agree with some of his ideas. Among other things, he is MPP’s point man to elite members of the political class in this state.

ROBIN SCHNEIDER, Director of Finance, emerged as a Lansing based cannabis reform activist in 2009 after the MMMA passed in 2008. She was a licensed Caregiver, tangled with Jason Christ and warned the community about problems in parking lots. Over the years, she has evolved to become the most sophisticated and successful cannabis reform lobbyist in Lansing. She has been the voice of the community for the National Patients Rights Organization (NPRA) for many years in the Capitol. On behalf of MPP, she is enabling persons with real money and business interests; to financially assist with cannabis legalization in the weeks and months ahead.

LISSA SATORI is Coalition Outreach Coordinator. She was involved in grass roots cannabis reform projects in Ohio during the “Responsible Ohio” days in 2015. She has visited many, many activists in Michigan in the last couple months; to listen to their concerns and help MPP be of assistance in any way possible.

     The Legal Committee is a number of attorney’s from across the state, representing different interest groups such as the ACLU, MCC, MI Legalize, the “Marijuana Section” of the Michigan Bar Association, MPP, Michigan NORML, NPRA and other independent attorney’s and experts. The Committee has built the petition's legal foundation, and it will defend it from attack. The attorneys are mostly all volunteers.

     There may be more specialists hired as the campaign evolves. In addition, the hiring of a blue chip signature gathering firm and a top tier issues and media relations company (yet to be disclosed) is an inevitability. Finally, there will be plenty of opportunity for anyone in the community to assist in the effort, as the campaign expands in the weeks ahead.

     No success touchstone will be left unturned in the weeks and months ahead. Our prohibitionist enemies will be defeated, and we will cross the final goalpost in 2018.

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