By David Bienenstock and Richard Cusick
Rob Kampia has been officially reinstated as the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project—following a three-month, unpaid leave of absence—according to a spokesman for the organization.
"Rob is back effective today,” according to MPP director of communications Mike Meno. “The board voted yesterday and we're hoping to continue with the work of ending marijuana prohibition in this country."
HIGH TIMES has learned that Kampia was reinstated during a contentious conference call meeting of the nine-person board and that the close vote on his potential return was followed by the resignation of at least two board members, one immediately and one within twenty-four hours. A spokesman for the Berkeley Patients Group released a statement confirming that their “representative has decided to resign from the board and to focus on implementation and self-regulation of medical cannabis laws."
Mitch Earleywine, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the State University of New York and an MPP board member since 2005 has also submitted his formal resignation.
Kampia temporarily stepped down on January 19th in the wake of news coverage of an August 2009 incident between himself and a subordinate female employee following a staff happy hour at a Washington, DC pub. Kampia acknowledges taking the woman in question back to his self-described “Purple Mansion” that night, where he says they engaged in entirely consensual sex.
The woman in question has not commented publicly, but within days of the incident, she and three other MPP staffers would quit in protest of Kampia’s leadership. That number would grow to seven resignations before media reports of the scandal first appeared in January of this year.
On August 13, 2009, the organization’s department heads unanimously joined Chief of Staff Alison Green in calling for Kampia to "move out of a position of power” in the organization, but he would remain as executive director for the next five months. Only after media reports emerged did Kampia publicly acknowledge showing “poor judgment,” and agree to undertake a leave of absence of at least three months, including therapy to treat what he called a “hypersexual” personality. Chairman of the Board of Directors, billionaire philanthropist Peter Lewis, told the press at that time that Kampia’s return would be conditional upon "convincing the board he has dealt with his issues."
In a recent interview with HIGH TIMES, Kampia described his previous battles with anxiety, depression, and alcohol, and the years of therapy he’s undergone as a result.
HIGH TIMES: Prior to August 7th, 2009 you say incidents in your personal life led you to believe that you probably did have a problem integrating sex into your life. You’ve been seeking therapy regularly for more than a decade. All prior to this incident…
Rob Kampia: Yeah... I wouldn’t say incidents. I would say observations.
HT: Fair enough. So how can you be confident that with three months of therapy, after ten years of prior therapy, that you’ll be ready to return to MPP?
RK: Well, I never said I was confident. I am going to do my best, and I don’t think that my previous therapy, involving anxiety or depression, points to the likelihood or probability of success of therapy involving sex.