Joe Koenig

2019 | Cincinnati, Ohio

Xavier University | Philosophy, Politics, and the Public

As society becomes increasingly skeptical of what’s in our food and where it comes from, Joe Koenig seeks to participate in the movement toward greater transparency in the food and drug industry.

“People deserve to know what affects their overall health, and I want to facilitate this for them, as food law advocacy has close ties to public health,” he said. He wants to change current laws that allow companies to skirt around regulations that threaten consumer health and safety.

Koenig is in his third year studying food law at MSU Law. As a self-proclaimed advocate for science-based laws, he supports efforts to break down the wall between company and consumer, and the decriminalization of drugs that have medical benefits, like cannabis.

His advocacy has already begun in the classroom. Koenig wrote a paper for his Food & Drug Law course detailing the history of cannabis laws and included his own suggestions for how the government can modify current laws in order to remove barriers that inhibit cannabis research, as well as develop laws to deconstruct the prison-industrial complex. “My professor was very complimentary of my paper, which meant a lot to me,” said Koenig. “She even encouraged me to submit it for publication. That was a huge compliment. I spent months researching and perfecting it.”

Koenig pursued a JD because of the career versatility it offers, acknowledging the relationships between the law, government, and the public.

He’s using his passion for policy change to establish a law chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) at MSU Law, which is still in the approval process, according to Koenig. “SSDP is a national group of university students who advocate for drug laws based on science, compassion, liberty, and aims to end the over-criminalization of drugs in America, as well as the opening of barriers to research certain drugs for medical purposes,” he said.

With a clear intention for his career, Koenig has reached the finish line of his law school journey. “My advice to prospective students on how to succeed in law school is to stay focused from day one,” he said. “It is easy to fall behind in law school, and given how much work we have, catching up is difficult. Stay on top of your readings, attend class regularly, and you should be fine.”