SSDP's Career Services Program

SSDP's Career Services Program

CEO, The ArcView Group. Deputy Sheriff, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. Founder and Chairman, Marijuana Majority. Managing Partner, 4Front Advisors. Assistant Director, Arlington County Department of Health and Human Services. Government Affairs Director, Americans for Safe Access. Senior Campaigner, Chief Operating Officer, Berkeley Patients Group. Digital Marketing Manager, Cato Institute. Director, Center for Social Responsibility, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Director of Events and Education, National Cannabis Industry Association.

That’s a pretty impressive list of jobs held by some pretty impressive people. What do they all have in common? Every one of those folks is an SSDP alumnus — and they’re joined by their peers on a much longer list.

I’ve said it before and I’ll surely say it again:

Students for Sensible Drug Policy has 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. As they become influential leaders, SSDP alumni ensure the cannabis industry remains deeply connected to its advocacy roots and maintains the values of responsibility, transparency, and social entrepreneurship. Across the nation, SSDP alumni are filling out the ranks of entry- mid-level positions at — or founding — consulting firms, service providers, law firms, and, yes, legal marijuana providers.


While some used to consider including SSDP membership on a résumé a liability, it’s now well-known that many employers will move SSDPers to top consideration because of the powerful experiences that shape their work ethic and philosophy while in college. Opportunities abound for young alumni seeking internship or employment opportunities. SSDP is regularly contacted by nonprofits and small businesses alike looking for rockstar up-and-comers to contribute that special SSDP ethos to their teams.


And in the coming post-prohibition world, there may be no more powerful way to bring science, evidence, and compassion to public health and regulation of drugs — whether alcohol, marijuana, or others — than to have SSDP students and alumni engaged in developing and implementing public campaigns or working in regulated markets.

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.

We’re currently developing, testing, and piloting the four components of the program, which will be fully operational mid-2015:

Advocacy + Industry Job Board – October 2014
The first comprehensive jobs board for mission-related organizations, legal marijuana businesses, and regulatory agencies will launch October 2014 on SSDP’s website. The jobs board will offer employers the opportunity to get the word out about jobs to SSDP members and the public alike, as well as a method to easily identify SSDP members and alumni in the often-overwhelming pile of résumés that comes along with any job opening. Students and alumni will have a single go-to source for jobs of particular interest, and the ability to make their résumés stand out from the crowd.

Advocacy + Industry Job Fair – September 2014
The Advocacy + Industry Job Fair at #SSDP2014 will bring students and alumni together with top employers who understand that there’s something special about having an SSDP alumnus on their team. We’ll also be hosting an SSDP booth where students can sign up for practice interviews, submit résumés for review, and learn more about internships available now and in the spring.

SSDP Intern Program – pilot program in progress, Fall 2014
SSDP internships will recruit, place, supervise, provide basic workplace training, and manage logistics for interns placed with companies and organizations with mission overlap with SSDP. Examples include direct-service harm reduction organizations, drug policy reform organizations, and legal marijuana businesses. Interns will receive assistance in preparing for and successfully completing internships; companies and organizations will receive assistance developing internship job descriptions, selecting interns, managing interns throughout the course of the internship, and completing assessments and other requirements of the program.

Coaching Services – Summer 2015 
Often, the hardest part of getting a job is knowing how to sell yourself, and the hardest part of succeeding in a career is having the right mentor to guide you when things get tough. Coaching services will aid students and alumni in the early part of their careers with résumé writing assistance, mock interviews, and mentorship for first- and second-year alumni as they navigate the beginnings of their careers.