Last updated on: 3/29/2018 | Author:

Karen O'Keefe, JD Biography

Director of State Policies for Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
Pro to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“It is fundamentally wrong to make preserving one’s health — or life — a crime. Yet federal marijuana laws, along with the laws of many states, do just that.

There is overwhelming evidence that cannabis is one of the safest treatment options. Even the DEA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge at the time, Francis Young, came to that conclusion. Research has shown that marijuana alleviates several serious symptoms and conditions including pain, nausea and wasting, Crohn’s disease, spasms, and glaucoma.

While around 15,000 Americans die every year from overdoses on prescription opiates, there has never been a medically documented fatal overdose on marijuana. Meanwhile, research has shown that cannabis can allow patients to reduce or eliminate their need for opiates.

It is cruel and senseless to criminalize the doctor-advised use of a safe and effective treatment option.”

Email to, Mar. 28, 2018

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
  • JD, Loyola School of Law, New Orleans, LA
  • BA, Public Policy and International Studies, Michigan State University
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?
  2. Has Legalizing Medical Marijuana Led to Increased Drug Abuse among Children and Adolescents?
  3. Who Are the Patients Receiving Medical Marijuana through the Federal Government's Compassionate IND Program?