Last updated on: 2/9/2018 | Author: ProCon.org

Karen O'Keefe, JD Biography

Title:
Director of State Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
Position:
Pro to the question "Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?"
Reasoning:

“Taxing and regulating marijuana allows for control, which is a far better approach than prohibition for marijuana consumers, workers, communities, and the environment.

Only in a regulated system can the government ensure marijuana is tested for dangerous pesticides and contaminants. Regulation also allows for environmental and worker protections: When marijuana is prohibited, it is often grown in environmentally sensitive locations where streams are diverted, toxic waste is left behind, and illegal rodenticides enter the food chain and poison predators — including endangered animals. Relegating marijuana to the illicit market leaves workers vulnerable to sexual assault, wage theft, violence, and felony charges.

With regulation, governments control where marijuana is sold, when it is sold, and to whom it is sold. They decide what types of products to allow — and many ban products likely to appeal to minors — and how cannabis must be packaged and labeled. Regulators can also require information be disseminated with cannabis and can fund honest education campaigns to educate marijuana consumers and youth about making healthy decisions.

Ending marijuana prohibition also frees up law enforcement resources, allowing police to focus on crimes with victims rather than fighting an unwinnable 80-year-old war against a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

Email to ProCon.org, Feb. 9, 2018

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with MDs, PhDs, JDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to marijuana or drug policy. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to drug, crime, or public health issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Nov. 2008-present
  • Assistant Director of State Policies, MPP, Apr. 2006-Nov. 2008
  • Attorney and Legislative Analyst, MPP, 2003-2006
  • Research Assistant, Loyola School of Law, 2001-2003
  • William Crowe Scholar, 2003
  • Recipient, Gillis Long Public Service Award, 2003
Education:
  • JD, Loyola School of Law, New Orleans, LA
  • BA, Public Policy and International Studies, Michigan State University
Contact Info:
Phone
323-568-1078
Email
kokeefe@mpp.org
Website
mpp.org
Other:
  • None found
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?