• Location: Washington, DC Holiday Inn
  • Dates: Apr 15, 2016 - Apr 17, 2016
  • Cost (current students): $80 (early bird)
  • Cost (SSDP alumni): $140 (early bird)
  • Cost (regular): $175 (early bird)

UNGASS Actions
New York, NY
April 18-21

SSDP is working with our global allies to advocate for a sensible approach to drug policy at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, taking place in New York City April 19-21. More details here.

Submit your session evaluation form here!

Submit your conference evaluation form here!

About SSDP2016

For the past decade, we’ve hosted our conference biennially, but starting in 2016, we’re excited to announce that we’re switching to an annual Spring conference schedule! During these extraordinary three-day events, the SSDP network comes together to celebrate, learn, connect, and advocate at the SSDP Conference.

This spring, SSDP2016 will bring more than 400 student members, alumni, and supporters to Washington, DC for our largest-ever gathering featuring:

    • Educational programming. The core conference program will include prominent keynote speakers and panels addressing the hottest topics in policy, harm reduction, leadership, organizing, and advocacy.
    • Awards Ceremony + Dance Party. SSDP recognizes outstanding network members with an annual awards ceremony followed by a dance party.
    • Student Congress. Our annual student board member election and governing resolution process invites all SSDP members to participate in defining their SSDP.
    • And more. An alumni gathering, regional meetups, networking meals, and other events offer nearly non-stop opportunities to connect with advocates and leaders of the drug policy reform movement!




All conference events will take place at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn unless otherwise noted. The Holiday Inn Rosslyn offers complimentary garage parking and free wireless internet (in sleeping rooms). There are two onsite restaurants and an indoor pool and fitness center. All sleeping rooms have private balconies. Holiday Inn Rosslyn 1900 North Fort Myer Drive Arlington, VA 22209 (703) 807-2000

Update 3/31/16: The Holiday Inn Rosslyn is sold out. SSDP has reserved a block of rooms at the Key Bridge Marriott, which is a 5-minute walk away. Reservations can be made here


Schedule is subject to significant change, please check this page for frequent updates. All events take place at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn unless otherwise stated.

Confirmed speakers and sessions just announced!

Friday, April 15

5:00pm – 8:00pm Registration
6:00pm – 8:00pm Welcome reception and regional networking
8:00pm – 10:00pm Congress I
8:00pm – 10:00pm Alumni gathering 

Saturday, April 16

9:00am – 6:00pm Registration, Exhibitor Hall open
9:00am – 9:30am Breakfast
9:45am – 10:15am Opening keynote or plenary
10:30am – 11:45am Breakout sessions
12:00pm – 1:15pm Breakout sessions
1:30pm – 3:00pm Congress II
1:30pm – 2:45pm Lunch + plenary
3:00pm – 4:15pm Breakout sessions
4:30pm – 5:45pm Breakout sessions
6:00pm – 6:30pm Closing keynote or plenary
8:00pm – 9:30pm Awards ceremony
9:30pm – 1:00am Live music, dance party, photo booth 

Sunday, April 17

9:00am – 6:00pm Registration, Exhibitor Hall open
9:00am – 9:30am Breakfast
9:45am – 10:15am Opening keynote or plenary
10:30am – 11:45am Breakout sessions
12:00pm – 1:15pm Breakout sessions
1:30pm – 2:45pm Lunch + plenary
3:00pm – 4:15pm Breakout sessions
4:30pm – 5:45pm Breakout sessions
6:00pm – 6:30pm Closing keynote or plenary
6:30pm – 7:00pm Closing Ceremonies

Monday, April 18

7:30am SSDP busses depart Arlington, VA
12:00pm SSDP busses arrive in New York, NY
3:30pm UNGASS demonstration at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York City (More details here)
6:00pm SSDP busses depart New York, NY for La Guardia airport/JFK airport/Arlington, VA

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?

You may register through our secure online platform here.

How much does registration cost?

(before 2/28)
(before 3/31)
(after 3/31)
Student $80 or 80 CAT points $100 or 100 CAT points $135 or 135 CAT points
Alumnus* $140 $175 $210
Nonstudent $175 $225 $325

*Alumni Association members in good standing are offered a 25% discount. Discount codes have been sent via email. Please contact stacia@ssdp.org if you believe you are in good standing but did not receive this message.

What is included in my registration?

Registration includes entry to all regular conference programming, a nametag, a swag bag, a conference program, and food (breakfast, lunch, and coffee both Saturday and Sunday and hors d’oeuvres during the Friday opening reception). n).

How does SSDP determine how much registration costs?

It costs SSDP approximately $140 per person to produce the conference. Making the conference affordable for as many students as possible is our highest priority. The cost for student registration (even at the most expensive rate, $135, which is for those who miss both the early bird and regular registration deadlines) is less than what it costs us per person. We offer early bird registration for alumni at cost, meaning we charge alumni who register before the early bird deadline what it costs us and not a penny more.  All registration rates that exceed $140 per person help us subsidize student registration.

We make every attempt to offset conference costs through sponsorships and non-student registration income.  We also eliminate costs that other conferences might splurge on. We selected a low-frills hotel that is located in Arlington, VA instead of in Washington, DC proper (having the conference in a major metropolitan city like DC would be roughly double the price). We do not pay honoraria for speakers, nor do we pay for speakers’ travel or lodging costs except in exceptionally rare cases. In fact, we ask that all non-student, non-alumni speakers pay for regular registration if they’re able.

When/where should I arrive?

Conference registration will open at 5:00pm on Friday April 15, followed by the opening reception from 6-8pm, so we recommend arriving in time to attend the reception at 6:00pm. If your schedule allows, it would be wise to arrive earlier in the day on Friday to allow yourself some time to get settled. You may consider arriving on Thursday or even earlier in the week if you’d like some extra time to go sightseeing. Our group rate on hotel rooms is available 3 days before and after the conference, so you’re welcome to utilize our discounted rate as early as 4/12.

When/where should I depart?

For those NOT participating in the UNGASS demonstration in New York, NY
Closing remarks will be the last piece of regular SSDP2016 programming, which will conclude at 7:00pm on Sunday April 17. Scheduling your departure any earlier than 7pm on 4/17 will cause you to miss part of the conference. We suggest staying until Monday April 18 if you are able (flights are typically cheaper on Mondays anyway) and joining us in New York City!

For those participating in the UNGASS demonstration in New York, NY
(TLDR: Book your flight/train home as late as possible on Monday 4/18 from New York City)

Following the conclusion of regular conference programming at 6:30pm on Sunday April 17, you’ll have the rest of the evening to get dinner, socialize with your new SSDP friends (or if you’re super smart, take a nap!). Early Monday (4/18) morning we’ll provide breakfast and board buses to New York. We’ll arrive in New York and proceed to the UNGASS demonstration. After the demonstration, you will have a few options depending on your plans for getting home:

  • take the SSDP bus to La Guardia airport
  • take the SSDP bus to JFK airport
  • take the SSDP bus back to Arlington, VA (Washington DC area)
  • arrange your own transportation
  • arrange your own lodging for the night in NYC

Does SSDP offer scholarships for me to attend SSDP2016?

This year, we are replacing our traditional scholarship application process with a streamlined way for SSDP students to “pay” for their conference expenses through chapter activities. Essentially, this allows our students to register for the conference for no money out of pocket. Points earned through the Chapter Activity Tracker (CAT) can be spent on conference registration and hotel lodging during the conference.

There is one special scholarship fund that students and alumni with a specific dedication to psychedelics and/or harm reduction are welcome to apply for:

Daniel Jabbour, an SSDP all-star alumnus, passed away in April 2014. To honor and remember him, SSDP created this scholarship fund to help send outstanding activists to the conference. Daniel’s driving passion in drug policy reform was psychedelics, leading him to found the Psychedelic Society of San Francisco. Much like SSDP, the Psychedelic Society created a safe space for people to discuss their experiences, expand their knowledge, and work to change the status quo. This scholarship will be awarded to someone who has exhibited their dedication to harm reduction and policy reform for psychedelics. Use this form to apply for the Daniel Jabbour Memorial Scholarship to attend the 2016 Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference in Washington, DC.

How can I use my chapter’s CAT points to attend SSDP2016?

All SSDP chapters in good standing are expected to use our new Chapter Activity Tracker (CAT) to track their activities, for which points are earned. Those points may be spent on a variety of items, now including conference registrations and lodging. Once you determine how many of your chapter members will be attending the conference, take a look at your points balance and decide how you’d like to spend them. Your outreach coordinator will provide you with special discount codes to use for conference registrations.

CAT point values for registration and lodging

  • 400 points: One hotel room for 4 people, for 3 nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
  • 100 points: Space for one person in a shared hotel room for 3 nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
  • 80 points: One student registration
  • 40 points: 50% discounted student registration (drops your cost from $80 to $40)

Do I have to use CAT points to purchase my registration?

No, you may purchase your registration via credit card here. If you’d like to discuss alternative forms of payment (ex: check, invoice, etc.), please contact Lauren Padgett lauren@ssdp.org.

How can I use CAT points to pay for lodging?

Contact your Outreach Coordinator if you’d like to use CAT points for conference lodging.

Do I have to use CAT points to pay for lodging?

No. You’re welcome to arrange your own lodging. You may book your room at the hotel using this link. Or you may call (703) 807-2000 to make your reservation, just be sure to mention you’re with the SSDP conference (group code: “SD6”).

Is there anything else I can do to bring my costs down?

    • Apply for funding through your school. Ask your outreach coordinator for help if you’re not sure where to start.
    • Ask you friends and family to donate airline miles or cash to help you get to the conference.
    • Set up an airfare price alert through Kayak and keep a close eye on prices so you’re able to book your flight at the cheapest rate possible.
    • Set up an independent fundraising page through a platform such as Indiegogo or Gofundme.
    • Conduct other fundraising efforts (bake sales, auctions, selling merchandise, etc.)

Previous Conferences

To get a sense of what’s in store for SSDP2016, check out these videos and pages linked below for highlights and content from our last conference, SSDP2014.

See last year’s tentative schedule and selected session content here.

See last year’s list of confirmed speakers here.



We asked attendees at our last conference, SSDP2014, if there was anything else they’d like to share after their experience. Here’s what they said:

“This conference attracted the nicest, most passionate, down to earth people I’ve ever met. I made friends for a lifetime while gaining skills I know I’ll use to change the world. It. Was. Awesome.”


“I think that it is worth noting the amazing and brilliant atmosphere that the SSDP team helped to create. Everyone that I have talked to is still buzzing with energy. This was life changing for many people and I can’t wait to see the ripple effects of the aftermath as they go out and turn into some very real change. Personally, SSDP has deeply and fundamentally changed my life. This conference reminded me of exactly how powerful this unique organization is in that regard. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”


“So much I’d love to share, but the most important things are experiences we’ve already shared together. I will be an SSDP supporter for life and am inspired by the incredible alumni and students around me to be the best I can to make the world a little more sensible.”


“I had the time of my life, I met so many people that shared similar values and care about changing our society for the better”


“It’s always so good to see old friends and make new ones. SSDPers are the best people on earth.”


“Met great friends. Saw so much potential in this movement. Saw so much potential for after graduation. I love the free-spirit intellectual crowd.”


“The experience gets better every time, I love my SSDP family!”