Career Services Program
Students for Sensible Drug Policy has, for nearly twenty years, worked toward ending the failed War on Drugs. And we have long held a unique space in the drug policy reform movement: The work that our members do on their campuses and in their states prepares them to be leaders in not only drug policy reform, but also in many intersecting movements. The list of SSDP alumni doing meaningful work in social justice, the liberty movement, direct service harm reduction, and other areas of policy reform is long and impressive. State-legal marijuana industries have opened another door for post-graduation employment and many of the more visible leaders of that industry cut their teeth while founding SSDP and building their chapters.
SSDP’s Career Services Program seeks to increase meaningful services to students and facilitate students’ increased engagement in policy reform — and the legal marijuana industry as one vector supporting that reform — through improved preparation for and access to post-graduation employment opportunities.
For Students & Alumni
The Students for Sensible Drug Policy Internship Program is designed to give students the opportunity to interact with organizations, government entities, and companies working at the forefront of drug policy through reform, implementation, and integration. The program offers engaging training in drug policy and intersecting areas, such as government affairs and state-legal cannabis industries, through guided, semester-long engagements many types of work, including legal, research, political, and marketing positions.
Interns are screened, interviewed, and placed with SSDP’s partner sites where work assignments and supervision will closely resemble traditional internship opportunities. Each position will generally run one semester in length, require 10-15 hours per week of the students time, and offer a small paid stipend of at least $250 per month (except in those cases where a stipend is not permissible).
Training seminars offer students workplace training and skills development, in addition to training provided directly by participating worksites regarding an overview of the organization or company’s area of expertise or professional habits that contribute to career success. Students will also have the opportunity during the week following the presentation to work with their advisors on the materials presented during the seminar.
Students will work directly with SSDP’s program advisors to maximize skills and workforce development through frequent check-ins, one-on-one training, mentorship, and reflection.
Do I get to choose which company I intern with?
Yes, you may apply for an internship with any participating company. Note, however, that some companies will require their intern to do onsite work. If this is not feasible for you, you may not get the position.
What if I don’t live near any of the participating companies?
We are always looking to expand the program to new areas. Let us know that your chapter is interested and we will take it into consideration when looking for new internship opportunities.
Can I receive course credit for my internship?
It’s possible to receive credit for most internships, but it will depend on your school’s requirements. We are available to help you navigate the process to receive credit.
Are the internships paid?
Most of the Internships will have a monthly stipend associated with them. Law students in legal internships will not be eligible for a stipend.
The SSDP career services program is designed to give employers in drug policy reform, related advocacy, and the legal marijuana industries the chance to help cultivate the next generation of drug policy professionals while providing unprecedented workforce development opportunities to SSDP members. These positions, designed by the organization or company offering the position in consultation with SSDP’s internship experts, are available in summer, spring, and fall terms with the average intern working 10-15 hours per week on a dedicated project or program. The qualifications and duties determined by your company help us tailor the pool of candidates and provide only the best SSDP has to offer. Program staff recruit and screen candidates, after which those who meet the qualifications are interviewed with their prospective employer. Throughout the internship experience, both the intern and company are supported in supervision, training, and performance analysis. Employers may elect to invite interns to continue beyond the formal internship term in either intern or employee roles.
In addition to the workplace skills building training offered by program staff and outside experts, each participating employer has the opportunity to work with the full roster of student interns by conducting a 1-2 hour training course. Internship program consultants will work with you to design the content of your seminar which could offer an overview of your organization or company’s area of expertise or professional habits that contribute to career success. These trainings help students develop professional skills so they are the best prepared to enter the workforce.
Access to the SSDP Career Services is only available to Sensible Sponsors and Superstars, and government offices and non-profit organizations on a sliding scale
Additionally, all participants (unless prohibited by school or government regulation) are required to provide a minimum stipend of $250 per month directly to participating students. This marginal cost allows students with limited income to do meaningful work through the internship program rather than be forced to do low-wage/low-skill work to make ends meet. Employers are encouraged to set stipend rates higher as a strategy to increase workforce diversity.
What if we can’t find a suitable intern in our area?
Students for Sensible Drug Policy will promote your internship opportunity to our full chapter network, with priority selection given to students in your area. We prioritize students in your area to ensure maximum oversight, education, and to foster strong working relationships between students and their host companies. Unfortunately, we can not always ensure that the perfect student for your company lives in your area. In this event, SSDP will work with you to find an intern who can work remotely for your company, or help you modify your job description to maximize interest.
How does SSDP select prospective internship candidates?
Prior to the interview process, SSDP will meet with your intern coordinator to discuss preferred work styles and office culture. We do our best to match internship sites with students who will thrive within your culture and scope of work. Upon receipt of resumes and writing samples, SSDP asks students a battery of questions to determine an applicant’s level of professionalism and work ethic. We will then send you the top two or three candidates for a direct interview, including a packet of our initial interview notes, the students’ résumés, and applicable writing samples.
Is the internship stipend required to be paid by my company or organization?
We require partners to commit to a minimum stipend of $250 per month but encourage partners to attract the broadest and most qualified set of applicants by offering a competitive stipend of $400-600 per month. SSDP student members come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, and in many cases would be unable to work in an internship without baseline pay. This policy maximizes the pool of prospective applicants to your internship site, while minimizing the need to work outside of a student’s normal course load. Additionally, internships that do not provide substantial training for the students’ own educational benefit may qualify as employment by the Department of Labor and be subject to FLSA standards. We recognize that for a few internships, stipends violate school requirements, and waive the stipend accordingly when students are receiving credit.
Will students be able to work with cannabis directly?
SSDP students are not permitted to physically handle cannabis as a part of their internship. If your company requires all staff to be handling cannabis as a part of their role, SSDP can support your needs through our alumni jobs board.
What role does SSDP play in overseeing our intern?
SSDP checks in with interns at least once per week to discuss job performance and career development goals. Our internship program consultants will regularly check in with you to ensure that work is being done in a timely and professional manner. We will proactively provide education in areas where companies feel students need growth, while ensuring an additional layer of accountability for students should any issues arise in the workplace.