Robert Kampia previously co-founded the Marijuana Policy Project in 1995 and served as its executive director for 23 years. After leaving MPP in 2017, he founded the Marijuana Leadership Campaign, based in Austin and Washington, D.C. Robert grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. In 1986, he graduated as valedictorian of his class at Souderton Area High School, and in 1993 he graduated with honors from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science and a minor in English.

In the middle of his seven-year tenure at Penn State where he had a full scholarship, he served three months in a county prison near State College after being convicted of three felonies associated with growing his own marijuana for recreational use. Two years after being released from prison, he was elected to serve as president of Penn State’s student body from 1992 to 1993. Three days after graduating from Penn State in 1993, he moved to Washington, D.C. for the sole purpose of legalizing marijuana in the United States. And he has spent his entire adult life doing just that, toggling between his so-called “Purple Mansion” in D.C. and his house in Austin.

Between 2000 and 2016, Robert was the principal architect of the lobbying campaigns and ballot initiatives that legalized medical marijuana in 14 of the first 30 states that now have such laws on the books. And between 2012 to 2016, Robert oversaw the campaigns that have regulated marijuana like alcohol in five of the first eight states that have done so — most notably in Colorado, which in 2012 became the first U.S. state (and the first jurisdiction in the world) to end marijuana prohibition entirely for adults 21 and older.

In his spare time, Robert travels internationally as a world tourist, practices yoga and meditation, listens to heavy metal, writes humor and blog posts, reads The Washington Post, and exercises (when he’s not running his mouth).