420 Week of Unity: Students for Sensible Drug Policy to Join Largest Evera Bip-Partisan Coalition of Cannabis Advocates, Industry, and Grassroots Organizations Calling for Cannabis Decriminalization during Cannabis Summit in Washington, DC

420 Week of Unity: Students for Sensible Drug Policy to Join Largest Evera Bip-Partisan Coalition of Cannabis Advocates, Industry, and Grassroots Organizations Calling for Cannabis Decriminalization during Cannabis Summit in Washington, DC

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30+ Organizations Join Forces for 420 Unity Day of Action Press Conference, Lobby Day, and White House Candlelight Vigil

Primary Press Contact: Maya Tatum, Press Secretary, mayaatatumm@gmail.com

Secondary Press Contact: Kat Murti, SSDP Executive Director, kat@ssdp.org




Washington D.C. – On Wednesday, April 17th at 9 am, Students for Sensible Drug Policy will join a bi-partisan coalition of cannabis advocates, industry, and grassroots organizations in a 4/20 Week of Unity.  Several lobbying events have been planned to apply pressure on Congress and the President to take action and fully legalize cannabis, free those in prison, and provide retroactive relief. The week begins with a press conference of elected officials, media, and coalition members in front of the Capitol at the House Press Triangle. Advocates will be joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who has been leading the fight for cannabis reform. Advocates will share their efforts to decriminalize cannabis and push cannabis justice reform forward while congressional leaders will discuss current cannabis legislation. The following day SSDP students from around the nation will participate in a Day of Action where they’ll meet with lawmakers and urge them to push for cannabis decriminalization and descheduling.  

“The focus of cannabis legislation has shifted toward monetary and business interests and away from retroactive justice and full decriminalization—the original goal. When legal millions are being made in a majority of states, it is time to reunite families and release everyone from prison,” says Axel Bilbao, SSDP Board Treasurer and member of SSDP’s University of Central Florida Chapter.

The 420 Week of Unity is packed with events, including a White House Candlelight Vigil that will be held on April 18th at Lafayette Park from 7-10 pm.  More than 30 organizations and coalition members will gather to honor the lives of family members who have been lost to marijuana prohibition, as well as those who are still locked behind bars. Coalition members include Last Prisoner Project (LPP), Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Supernova Women, NORML, Reason Foundation, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and many more! 

The coalition represents a historic effort by organizations across the political spectrum to put aside political disagreements and come together for a united cause: descheduling cannabis, releasing cannabis prisoners, and clearing cannabis-related charges from the records of impacted individuals. 

“This isn’t a left issue. This isn’t a right issue. It’s a freedom issue,” said SSDP Executive Director Kat Murti. “Americans from both major parties agree that marijuana should be legal and no one should be locked in a cage for a plant. It’s up to us to remind them that this issue is ongoing, that people are still being arrested and serving long sentences in prison, and that the fight for cannabis justice is not over.”

This effort is part of an ongoing campaign by SSDP and other cannabis organizations to get President Biden to honor his campaign promises. On November 21st, 2019 at a nationally televised debate President Biden declared  “Number one, I think we need to decriminalize marijuana. PERIOD. And I think, anyone who has a record should be let out of jail, records expunged. Completely zeroed out.” 

Despite cannabis legalization happening in 20+ states, youth and students are still being targeted for penalties. Now students from around the country, alongside coalition members are asking Joe Biden to keep his promise and urging Congressional members to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level completely. 

“I’m so excited and grateful to be participating in the 420 Week of Unity because it is going to be a powerful and impactful force in the cannabis justice movement. Throughout the week, SSDP and other activists will prove that the people have the power to make a change and create an equitable society,” says Marlie Thompson, SSDP Board Director and President of SSDP’s University of Alabama Chapter.  

“The time for federal cannabis legalization is now. These charges are barriers to countless peoples’ futures, and while businesses are profiting from cannabis sales, it is deeply unfair that countless individuals continue to experience legal troubles and incarceration due to outdated, unfair drug policies—especially when the majority of Americans support cannabis legalization and the majority of US states have medical or legal structures in place,” says Karley Snyder, SSDP Board Chair and a member of SSDP’s Pittsburgh Community Chapter.

“As an adult diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain, generalized anxiety, and insomnia, medical cannabis has significantly regulated my pain, sleep, and anxiety. Having access to medical cannabis for my chronic pain makes living day to day more manageable and more enjoyable. Despite my freedom to access this medicine, thousands of people federally, and hundreds of thousands of people on a state level have been criminalized, jailed, and incarcerated. I am heading to the 420 Week of Unity in D.C. to fight to end cannabis criminalization and to fight for freedom for all,” says Jeanne Porges, SSDP Board Director and President of SSDP’s Adler University Chapter 

No one should be incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis convictions, and we need your help to hold our lawmakers accountable. We demand Congress stop passing the buck and take cannabis justice seriously! Join us for the largest bipartisan coalition of cannabis justice advocates for a week-long series of events– @ssdpoffical’s #420WeekofUnity. Learn more at ssdp.org. 

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is the largest global youth-led network dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. Founded in 1998, SSDP comprises thousands of members in hundreds of communities around the globe, including 100+ chapters in the United States. SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies focusing on those that directly impact students and youth.