Ismail Ali ‘16 | UC Berkeley School of Law

From 2015-16, Ismail served as co-lead of Berkeley Law’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, where he coordinated events that helped educate the law school community about entheogens, challenge the stigma associated with psychedelic drug use, and critique the racial dynamics of the emerging cannabis industry in California. Ismail earned his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2016, after receiving his Bachelor’s in Philosophy from California State University, Fresno, in 2012. As a law student, among leading and participating in other extracurricular activities which focused primarily on human rights, civil liberties, and racial justice, he also worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Project. As Policy Fellow, Ismail supports MAPS’ legal and policy goals, including organizing the MAPS Psychedelic Legal Network, coordinating research in Latin America, and developing and implementing advocacy strategies. To support his work at MAPS, Ismail received Berkeley Law’s Public Interest Fellowship, a fellowship which provides funding for qualified Berkeley Law graduates who pursue legal work in the public interest. Ismail believes that psychedelic consciousness is a crucial piece of challenging oppression in all of its forms, and that legal access to psychedelics is an essential part of a progressive drug policy paradigm. He hopes to help develop and advocate for just, equitable, and creative alternatives to the failed war on drugs.

Amy Hildebrand ‘16 | DePaul University

Amy Hildebrand is currently a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, majoring in American Studies. Having previously ventured into wrongful convictions casework with the Chicago Innocence Center, she sought to build the rest of her academic experience at DePaul around the history of systematic oppression and race relations in the US, with emphasis on popular culture, social movements, and media studies. She has known she wanted to fight the war on drugs since high school and views finding SSDP as an act of fate. Amy restarted the DePaul SSDP Chapter in 2016 upon beginning an internship with the Illinois Cannabis Industry Association, which she found through SSDP’s career services. Since then she planned and hosted the 2016 Midwest Regional Conference and grew the DePaul chapter from a one woman show to a thriving group of over 20. At SSDP2017 in Portland she was awarded SSDP’s Rising Star award and at SSDP2018 in Baltimore, her chapter was awarded Outstanding Chapter. She has been an SSDP State Policy Intern since June ‘17, working closely with the legislative team pushing cannabis legalization in Illinois.

Zane Bader ‘15 | University of Georgia

Zane is a senior at the University of Georgia studying pure mathematics. His activism career started when he became a DanceSafe visionary in early 2015. Since becoming a visionary, he has volunteered with DanceSafe at 4 music festivals, 2 of which have been national events with attendance over 10,000. He served as secretary for Athens CARE Project, an organization dedicated to reforming cannabis laws in Athens, from 2015-2016. He has also served as Vice President and Event Coordinator for UGA’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter. In August 2015, he founded the Psychedelic Club at UGA. He has served as the President for the past two years and organized several successful events including a Psychedelic Symposium and a trip-sitting workshop. During 2016, he was employed at UGA’s Center for Research on Behavioral Health, where they conducted the largest and longest comprehensive study on drug abuse treatment within the United States. His work there included both primary and secondary data collection, data entry and analyses, and assisting in applying for multi-million dollar federal grants related to researching substance abuse treatment. He works as a developer for a public health contractor that makes a software for state health departments and lower level health entities.

Juana Akuamoah Boateng ‘15 | Regent University

Juana Akuamoah Boateng is a youth activist and a country leader of Students for Sensible Drug Policy Ghana. She has four years experience in public relations and marketing, has worked with State Protocol as a national service personnel, and is a Young African Leadership RLS 2016 Fellow. As a columnist in the Business and Financial Times newspaper (B&FT), Juana writes weekly columns on drugs, policies, and human rights. She is the assistant producer for Africa in Focus, a weekly radio magazine that demystifies and educates listeners on trending issues in Africa and around the African continent. She is a member of East Africa Rising and an executive at the office of the former President of Ghana, H. E Jerry John Rawlings. In 2017, she was selected to serve as a Young Diplomat of Ghana for a year and became a member of Parliament for Ablekuman West for the Youth. Juana studied Art and Design at Ho Polytechnic in Ghana and is currently studying Human Development and Psychology at Regent University in Ghana. She is passionate about advocacy and creating change in the lives of people and in the world.

James Gould ‘15 | University of Colorado at Boulder

James Gould is founder of CanIExpunge, a nonprofit that provides assistance with expungement, an intern with SSDP and an intern with the Drug Policy Alliance, a contractor doing web development work with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, and chapter leader of SSDP at the University of Colorado Boulder and Psychedelic Club of Boulder, as well as a frequent volunteer with the Harm Reduction Action Center and Zendo Project. He has been a professional web developer and programmer for nearly half a decade, and is now transitioning to working heavily in drug policy.

Richard Hartnell ‘16| University of California, Santa Cruz

Richard Hartnell once got expelled from his hometown community college for earning too many credits. Subsequently, he joined a circus collective in Oakland and spent the next half decade touring the US and EU. Subsequently, he earned a full scholarship from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he majored with honors in cognitive science and neuroscience in order to satisfy an ensuing curiosity about the intersection of entheogens and creativity. Richard began with SSDP as the new founder of a dormant chapter at UC Santa Cruz. During his short stint directing the chapter, he brought the new group into a status as one of the most active chapters in the organization, earning two nominations in the first year for Rising Star Chapter and Rising Star Activist and another nomination for Outstanding Chapter the year following. The chapter has found success in their high-profile, high-impact harm reduction campaigns; in their first year, UCSC prevented hundreds of doses of fake MDMA from going out to the student body and reduced drug-related 911 calls at the campus's annual 4/20 party by 90%. Personally, RIchard keeps up his commitments as a psychedelic advocate by volunteering as a psychedelic crisis counselor, working to re-integrate psychedelics as a promising avenue in psychology research, and making psychedelic art.

Robert Hofmann ‘16 | State University of New York - New Paltz

Robert Hofmann joined the drug policy reform movement in 2016 after seeing the successes of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Rob has since participated in lobbying efforts to expunge the records of individuals with stop-and-frisk possession arrests, Ban the Box, fully fund higher education, and legalize adult use marijuana in New York State. As President of the SUNY New Paltz chapter, Robert organized Know Your Rights trainings, policy discussions, and guided students in developing their own substance education presentations. Rob is currently working as a campaign field organizer in Rhode Island and serves as the Chair of the Issues and Resources Committee.

Kat Murti ’09 | Cato Institute

Kat Murti is a libertarian, feminist, and activist, working to make the world a better, freer place, one day at a time. Kat has been actively involved with SSDP since January 2009, and currently serves on the Board of Directors and co-chairs the SSDP-DARE and Fundraising committee. She also edits the SSDP Mosaic. Kat was named an Alumni All Star in December of 2010, a Spotlighted Alum in January of 2012, and the 2016 A. Kathryn Parker Outstanding Alumnus in Service to SSDP. Kat first became involved with drug policy in 2007 when she joined the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of NORML. She served as Bay Area Regional Director of the Proposition 19 campaign to legalize adult recreational cannabis, and has worked at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. Kat is a graduate of Oaksterdam University. Kat lives and works in Washington, D.C., and occasionally plays on the One Hitters softball team. Kat earned her B.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, where she served as president of CalSSDP. While in college, she interned at SSDP’s San Francisco office and served as co-coordinator of the AMPLIFY Project.

Evan Nison ’09 | Owner, NisonCo and CFO, Whoopi & Maya

Evan Nison is the youngest ever Executive Director of NORML New Jersey, and has been a member on Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s Board of Directors for several years. He also runs a cannabis specific PR firm, NisonCo and is a co-founder of Whoopi & Maya.. In New York he is the Co-Founder of the NY Cannabis Alliance, which has helped craft numerous pieces of cannabis related legislation in New York. In 2010 he moved to California to run the college outreach effort for Prop 19 in California, which spanned over 40 schools. He was President of Ithaca Students for Sensible Drug Policy for 4 years, which was rated the #1 college drug law reform chapter in the country in 2011, and under his leadership passed one of the first college policies in the country that equalized penalties for cannabis and alcohol on campus. Evan was instrumental in the passage of the New York 911 Good Samaritan Law and served as Drug Policy Advisor to Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, NY, one of the youngest mayors in the country, where he helped spearhead an effort to pass a US Conference of Mayors resolution supporting the legalization of marijuana. Evan has been mentioned in news sources such as the NY Times, Politico, USA Today, NBC New York, Bloomberg TV, Forbes, and has been profiled in the Ithaca Times, Home News Tribune, and the Sun Times. He also received the 2011 NORML Student Activism Award and High Times Freedom Fighter Award for his advocacy.

Samantha Melius '15 | Kent State University

Samantha Melius has been involved in SSDP since 2015 and is a member of the Alumni Association and Sensible Society. As a 2017 graduate from the Kent State University chapter, she previously served as Historian, VP, and Chapter Leader. In 2018, she was nominated for Outstanding Alumnus and won the Daniel Jabbour Scholarship for psychedelic harm reduction at SSDP18. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Biology with a minor in Sustainability, and focuses on sustainable policy, the cannabis industry, harm reduction, and mental health awareness. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and Naloxone Administration. She has worked as an intern with the Hemp Industries Association, has won scholarships through the Ohio Rights Group to attend cannabis-related events, and is well-known in Ohio as an industrial and medical cannabis advocate. She recently held an Apprenticeship at a farm in Colorado to understand the methods of growing cannabis, and currently works as a Horticulture professor at the Cleveland School of Cannabis in Ohio.

Odunola Oladejo ‘17| University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Odunola is a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Nigeria. She earned a Bachelors of Law degree from the University of Ibadan and B.L degree at the Nigerian Law School in 2016. She specifically focuses on community building, empowerment, leadership and advocacy. Her inspiration to be an effective advocate of change spurred from her observation about the current drug policy reforms in Nigeria which are not favourable to persons who use drugs. These policies rather increase mass incarceration and corruption and harm the economy. She is presently working toward setting strategies that would promote quality in the criminal justice system in Nigeria by advocating for reformation of drug laws. She is a lawyer, entrepreneur, speaker and planner.
Emma Rodriguez Romero ‘14 | University Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Emma studied Political Science and Public Administration at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Leader and founder of the EPSD Mexico chapter. She is part of the young researchers at UNAM with the lines of investigation use and abuse of legal and illegal drugs, sexuality, body and gender. She has participated and organized various events (conferences, workshops, talks, etc.) on drug policy in Mexico. Two of the most important was the first conference of SSDP Regional Latin America in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, and organized the day of global action Support No Punish edition 2017 in seven states of the Mexican Republic.

Eric Sterling ‘99 | Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

Eric E. Sterling has been a funder and advisor to SSDP since 1999, and been on SSDP’s board of directors since 2004. SSDP’s Lifetime Achievement Award is named after Eric, commemorating his contributions to the organization and drug policy reform. He has been an attorney forty years, has been active in several bar associations, and been part-time faculty at American University and George Washington University. He was a prominent student activist at Haverford College (’73) and Villanova Law School (’76). He was a public defender in the late 1970s. For nine years in the 1980s, he was counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, responsible for drugs, gun control, pornography, money laundering, organized crime, and other issues. He is Executive Director and co-founder of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (1989), and co-founder and advisor of other drug policy and criminal justice reform organizations (MPP, FAMM). He is active in civic and community affairs, such as serving as past president of his local elementary school PTA. He is in his ninth year on the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council of Montgomery County, MD. In 2013, he was appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to a four-year term on the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, where he was a leader in developing the regulations to implement medical cannabis production and distribution there. In 2015, he was presented with the NORML Lifetime Achievement Award. He is Vice-Chair of Marijuana Majority and a LEAP speaker. He led wilderness canoe trips in the mid 1970s, was active in trail and bicycle politics in Pennsylvania in the late 1970s and climbed the Matterhorn in 1979. He loves biking, hiking, reading, cooking, parenting and dancing, and lives with his wife of 20 years in Maryland. His daughter is in the class of ‘20 at her college.

Michael Williams '15 | Ferris State University

Michael Williams recently completed his B.S. in Applied Speech Communication with a Public Advocacy Concentration and Minor in Philosophy. He is also currently pursuing a degree in Industrial Chemistry Technology. On campus he has been a member of over a dozen student organizations, founding four different successful student organizations. Outside of student organizing, he has also been an active member of the Michigan Psychedelic Society, Climate Reality Project, and has worked on numerous cannabis reform campaigns in Michigan since 2006, serving as the Mecosta County volunteer leader for MILegalize since 2016 and spring 2018 campaign intern. Currently, he is working with others around the state to start the first Michigan DanceSafe chapter and working as a field organizer with NextGen Michigan to get out the 2018 youth vote. Previously Michael was the Director of Operations for the High Five Program based out of Grand Rapids, MI providing sustainable business solutions such as compost/recycle/landfill infrastructure, vendor materials sourcing, and patron outreach/education/incentives for street fairs, festivals and temporary communities across the United States. In his spare time, he can be found following his favorite bands on tour or in the studio making music. After college, Michael hopes to find himself continuing his work in the fields of drug policy reform and eventually plans to run for state office.

Riley Tillett ‘16 | Yale University

Riley Tillitt is a junior at Yale University majoring in History and Ethics, Politics, & Economics. He currently leads SSDP at Yale and Yale Model Congress. During his time as President of Yale SSDP, they successfully lobbied Yale to adopt a medical amnesty policy for drug use; hosted a debate on drug policy with several candidates for governor, the first gubernatorial debate of its kind in the nation; and hosted SSDP’s Northeast Regional Conference. This past summer, Riley worked at the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, D.C. as a legislative affairs intern, where he worked to oppose federal intervention in state cannabis operations and protect the Medicaid expansion for its importance in covering addiction treatment.

Betty Aldworth | Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Betty Aldworth joined the SSDP team in February 2014 as Executive Director. In 2012, Betty was the spokesperson and advocacy director for Colorado’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the first to make marijuana legal for adult use. She served as deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association in 2013, where she was responsible for developing NCIA’s then-nascent educational programming and framing the national conversation about the marijuana industry. In 2014, she became executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the international network of more than 3,000 students dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. Prior to her work in cannabis and drug policy, Betty spent a decade motivating and engaging volunteers as a nonprofit leadership professional in Denver, CO.