Why Mississippi Handcuffed Marijuana Policy Project Fundraising

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) bills itself as the largest organization in the United States focused solely on ending marijuana prohibition. Their mission: to end federal laws preventing states from determining their own cannabis policy.

In an email addressed to supporters today, executive director of MPP Rob Kampia explained the state of Mississippi has decided to prohibit MPP from fundraising in the state because Kampia was convicted of growing cannabis 26 years ago.

Kampia writes:

After I was convicted for growing my own marijuana while in college, I co-founded MPP in order to repeal marijuana prohibition in all 50 states — something we can no longer do in Mississippi. This is a 'circular double screw.'

Mississippi has an obscure regulation governing charitable donations which states:

The Secretary of State shall deny, suspend, or revoke a registration or an exemption if any applicant, registrant, director, or partner of the applicant or registrant, or any agent or employee thereof who has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving misrepresentation, misapplication or misuse of the money or property of another maintains a position where he or she has access to or control over the funds of the charitable organization.

In their letter, MPP pointed out that they were unable to email supporters in Mississippi about this problem because of the fundraising law - which obviously poses extra difficulties, as the organization gathers donations to challenge said law. Kampia called on MPP faithful from outside the region to donate to MPP in order to fuel their fight with the Mississippi government.

Responding to an inquiry from Civilized, MPP Communications Manager Morgan Fox explained that MPP and the MPP Foundation applied for charitable status in the state on Oct. 5th of this year, and the state subsequently rejected the application on Nov. 16th, specifically citing Rob Kampia's ancient conviction as the reason.

Fox says Mississippi is the only state where MPP has encountered this situation.

Stay tuned for updates. Civilized has reached out to the Mississippi Charities Office for comment.


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