Maddy's SSDP Alumna Story

I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Okay, not always. And actually, not even when I first went to college. In fact, I wanted to be a news anchor, so I studied journalism. I desired to be an objective and reliable source of non-sensationalized information for the general public. Silly me.
What was the next best option? Law school, of course. My motivation and drive to attend law school shifted substantially, however, from success-and-wanting-to-be-my-own-boss to holy-sh*t-the-whole-system-is-f***ed. Which will likely happen after watching your mother die slowly from cancer. Or, more accurately, from the experimental chemotherapy treatment that was her only option. Need I say more?
Maddy's mom, Janell McElwain

Maddy’s mom, Janell McElwain

I remember in undergrad being asked by my parents to go meet this holistic doctor on the sketchy, outskirts of my college town so I could buy ground apricot seeds (I repeat: GROUND APRICOT SEEDS) for my mother to try as a plant-based approach to treat her cervical cancer. He would have lost his physician’s license if the government knew he was selling such despicable substances.

Needless to say, it was a real eye-opening experience for me. What was even more eye-opening, though, was the fact that although my mom had been a regular cannabis user since her teens, she had no idea how it could benefit her during her treatments. Probably because it was never recommended to her by her physician. So, it wasn’t until it was too late that the palliative and curative possibilities of cannabis became known to me.

It was at this point that I knew that I was going to start some sort of cannabis law club when I got accepted to DU Law. Unbeknownst to me, there instead existed an organization by the name of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, headed by the seraphic and unparalleled Daniel Garcia ’09. It was love at first sight.

I will spare you the details, but I do want to get serious for a moment. SSDP shaped my purpose in life, and gave me validation in who I am at my core. It provided me a platform for change. From there, I was able to advocate more effectively than I ever could for the causes that mean so much to me, to so many others, and to the world. SSDP propelled me into a global community of like-minded individuals who quickly became and accepted me as family. A family of revolutionists.

 

Denver Law SSDP chapter

Denver Law SSDP chapter

Having since graduated from law school, my internal fire to reform drug policy has only grown. Being a lawyer is a tool in my activist toolbox, and SSDP is still providing me that platform for change even though I am no longer a student thanks to the Alumni Association.

Sure, we may have to assimilate, integrate into what we now call “adulting,” but that doesn’t mean we have to end our efforts. In fact, it is more important than ever that we all continue fighting the good fight, especially when we are looked upon as young professionals, as contributers to society.

This is much bigger than us, people. What we are doing now is the catalyst for what will be one of the most pivotal points in human history and evolution. Let’s join forces, as alumni, as students, as a species. We got this. SSDP’s got this.

Join me in the SSDP Alumni Association today.