Aaron Houston

4
Sep

Operation Hemisphere: the White House's secret program to spy on citizens in the name of drug prevention

The New York Times revealed on September 1 that the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)  — the same folks who brought us ads about marijuana users eating their own fists and other reefer madness messages — has secretly run a program that provides vast access to phone data records spanning a 26 year period. The program offers

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14
Aug

Cory Booker's Victory in Senate Contest Is a Victory for Drug Reform

Newark Mayor Cory Booker won the Democratic primary election last night, setting him up as the expected winner in the contest for New Jersey’s open Senate seat. Booker’s victory in the general election is not certain, but it’s pretty close to a sure thing, which means he is now poised to become the most vehement advocate for drug policy reform

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20
May

Shameful anti-drug ad campaign spreads misinformation to DC youth (we're shocked)

On my way home from the office last week, this new print advertisement caught my eye. The ad, sponsored by DC public health officials, warns that if you use “fake weed,” you may turn into a zombie. This point is punctuated by a photo of a young female zombie dressed to the nines for prom with her seemingly oblivious date

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5
Feb

Press Release: Youth Advocates Stand Alongside Coalition in Congress Introducing Marijuana Legalization Bill

Youth Advocates Stand Alongside Coalition in Congress Introducing Marijuana Legalization Bill Impact on National Debate Will Be Substantial, Could Help Invigorate Young Voters Officials Note Students for Sensible Drug Policy hails creation of new “Sensible Drug Policy Working Group” in Congress For immediate release: February 5, 2013 Contact: Aaron Houston, 202-393-5280 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Officials with Students for Sensible Drug Policy today joined

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20
Dec

Big organization, tiny budget

Here at Students for Sensible Drug Policy, we pride ourselves on being the largest global drug policy organization in terms of people power.  However, we are far from the top when it comes to our budget, and that’s where you come in. Our five staff members work in a cramped, no-frills, two-room office and we’re able to support over 200

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5
Nov

No pressure or anything, young voters

Yesterday, SurveyUSA and the Denver Post reported new findings on the chances of Colorado voters legalizing marijuana like alcohol tomorrow. In a memo to the Denver Post, the pollsters explained: “Passage would be driven largely by the support of younger voters, who sometimes are less reliable, turnout-wise, than are older voters. Older voters oppose Amendment 64, and if the amendment should go down to

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24
Oct

SSDP endorses Measure 80, Oregon marijuana legalization initiative

In less than two weeks, voters in Oregon will have the opportunity to vote yes on Measure 80 (also known as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012), which would regulate the sale of cannabis to adults over age 21 and restore the agricultural hemp industry. Today I’m proud to announce our official endorsement: Students for Sensible Drug Policy endorses Measure

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1
May

Cops, moms and students call for an end to drug prohibition

Washington DC – Mothers from around the country will join with law enforcement and students at the National Press Club on May 2nd in honor of Mother’s Day. The press conference will launch a new coalition of national organizations that will represent mothers, police and students that seek to finally end the disastrous drug war. Students for Sensible Drug Policy

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4
Apr

Drug Policy Groups Unite to Demand End to Medical Marijuana Raids

Six National Drug Policy Organizations Call on President Obama to End Unnecessary Assault on Medical Marijuana Providers Coalition to President Obama: “It is time for a new approach on marijuana policy.” Contact: Aaron Houston, (202) 455-5869 WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the wake of recent attacks on medical marijuana providers and patients by multiple branches of the federal government, including Monday’s raids

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7
Mar

SSDP on MTV News

We’ve made speaking truth to power a priority at SSDP this year.  Our very own chair of the SSDP board, Irina Alexander, led a heroic effort in New Hampshire to get all of the GOP candidates on the record about important drug policy issues.  Her work along with that of other SSDP leaders has made the Washington Post and MSNBC. Now today, another SSDPer, Alison

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7
Dec

Top 8 SSDP Triumphs of 2011

We’d like to share our top eight triumphs of the year.  Check it out! 8. Students ambassadors at United Nations We were granted official “consultative status” by the United Nations, which means we are the only US-based drug policy organization with a seat at the UN’s committee that handles drug policy. Our students will be rubbing elbows with diplomats, weighing

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18
Oct

Young People Drive New Record High Poll Support for Marijuana Legalization

For the first time ever this week, Gallup announced that a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana — and that young people are part of the reason why.  “A record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up from 46% last year….Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval

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14
Sep

Legalize It! A Party With SSDP and Friends

Washington, DC – Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and actor Tray Cheney (“Poot”) of The Wire, will honor Niambe Tosh, daughter of legendary singer and activist Peter Tosh and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) for their extraordinary efforts in the fight to legalize marijuana.SSDP’s honorees have been committed advocates to the cause. Peter Tosh called on the world to ‘Legalize It’ six years after President

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12
Sep

SSDP in USA Today

Last week, the White House’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, made news by blaming an increase in teen marijuana use on medical marjuana laws, saying that the laws send the “wrong message” to teens.  We helped make sure that Brown University SSDP chapter activist Rebecca McGoldrick was quoted in a USA Today article countering Kerlikowske’s outrageous claim, where she noted her own pain

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3
Sep

New Report on Innovative Drug Policy in Portugal

Thanks to a new report by an allied organization, we have further evidence that a non incarceration-centered approach to drug policy works. Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch who serves as director of the Global Drug Policy Program at Open Society Foundations writes: In the 1990s, opinion polls in Portugal revealed that drugs were seen as the nation’s most pressing social problem. Intense debate in the news media, halls

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31
Aug

Announcing Our New Outreach Team!

I’m so excited to announce our newest staff members and also to announce a promotion for one staffer who’s been with us for several years.  As we say goodbye to one rock star staffer, we welcome three new regional outreach coordinators who will serve our chapter network by providing the support our students need to establish and sustain active and robust SSDP chapters.

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29
Aug

Goodbye to a genuine rock star SSDP staffer

As Jon departs SSDP, it seems fitting to publicly thank him for his extraordinary service to the organization.  My first exposure to Jon was in 2007 when he worked with me and others to get then-Senators Obama and McCain on the record about their positions on medical marijuana.  As I’ve had the chance to work more directly with Jon, my

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23
Jun

Action Alert: End the War on Marijuana

Today is a very big day. The first marijuana legalization bill was introduced in Congress this afternoon. H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, is a bi-partisan bill introduced by Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul that would allow states to legalize and regulate marijuana without federal interference. As a marijuana lobbyist working the halls of Congress, I had

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22
Jun

Marijuana Legalization Bill To Be Introduced in Congress

You probably saw the note last week from our friend, Niambe Tosh, announcing that at long last, a marijuana legalization bill will be introduced in Congress by Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul, among others.  We at SSDP are so excited to follow up on the incredible momentum of the past year and lend our voices of support to this historic

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16
Jun

Congressman blasts War on Drugs from House Floor

Please check out a strong ally of our movement, Congressman Steve Cohen, talking this morning from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

14
Jun

Update from the Green Room at NBC News in Washington, D.C.

I shot this video blog clip with my cell phone from inside the green room at NBC News on Capitol Hill right before I appeared on CNBC. I thought you may be interested to see what it looks like inside. Keep checking back here for video blog updates during this week of events highlighting the 40th anniversary of President Nixon declaring

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13
Jun

Update from (Near) The White House, Pt. I

See this update on what we’re up to during this historic week!

9
Jun

The Power of Student Activism

Check out our very own David Haseltine, president of the University of Connecticut SSDP chapter, on Huffington Post talking about how SSDP helped pass Connecticut’s new marijuana decriminalization law. Go David!

1
Jun

Make your voice heard at the UN

To Ban Ki-moon and all Heads of State: We call on you to end the war on drugs and the prohibition regime, and move towards a system based on decriminalisation, regulation, public health and education. This 50 year old policy has failed, fuels violent organised crime, devastates lives and is costing billions. It is time for a humane and effective

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31
May

(Moving) Office Space, SSDP-Style (VIDEO)

After about a decade in our national headquarters on Connecticut Avenue, this is our last day here. While we’re sad to say goodbye, we’re excited about our new office space in downtown Washington, D.C. We’ll tell you more about our new space soon and include some video. But for now, remember that part from the movie, Office Space, where employees

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