Blog

26
Apr

Sister-to-Sister

Last week, Aaron Houston and I represented SSDP at the 40th Anniversary NORML Conference in Denver, CO. Aaron spoke on Thursday’s panel, “The Feds, Marijuana and You” (watch the video here). On Friday, I had the pleasure of joining 4 incredibly inspiring women reformers on the”Closing the Cannabis Gender Gap” panel (full video here, I’m the last speaker beginning ~45:00) See the slides from our presentation

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25
Apr

The Last Sacred Cow

In the video above, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) director Julie Stewart speaks during a briefing on Capitol Hill titled, “The Last Sacred Cow: How Congress Can Cut Criminal Justice Spending Without Compromising Public Safety.” The briefing featured prominent conservative leaders such as Tim Lynch of the Cato Institute and Grover Norquist, highlighting the importance of criminal justice reform. FAMM has put

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15
Apr

SSDP Tip of the Week: Visibility

We’re starting a new series of blog posts aimed at helping you run successful chapters that engage in campaigns, constantly recruit new members, and become the most active and exciting groups on campus. To start things off, here’s a lesson on visibility. It might seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re not promoting your chapter’s meetings, events or campaigns, then how

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14
Apr

Republicans Medical Marijuana and Needle Exchange

President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker John Boehner worked out an agreement that avoided a federal government shutdown this past week. In order to reach a deal, Obama and Reid bowed to GOP demands to ban the District of Columbia from using any money to fund abortions. But for all of the fierce partisan debate surrounding

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11
Apr

New Chapter Spotlight: Lewis & Clark College

One of SSDP’s newest chapters, Lewis & Clark College located in Portland, OR, has jumped right into forming an active student group with a focus on reforming Oregon’s marijuana laws. One thing I been incredibly impressed with is chapter founder Christopher Van Putten’s enthusiasm and his ability to get the Lewis & Clark chapter officially recognized and up in running in just

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8
Apr

Outstanding Student Activist Award: Christopher Pezza

At the 2011 SSDP Awards Dinner, Christopher Pezza was one of only two students recognized for their outstanding activism within SSDP. Impressively, Chris has formed not one, but two SSDP chapters that are both currently active in Colorado. First, he organized students at Front Range Community College in Longmont. Under his leadership, the FRCC chapter worked on numerous campaigns and helped spread

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8
Apr

2 brand new SSDP chapters now on the map!

We’re excited to announce the two newest additions to our chapter network this week. Welcome to the team, GWU Law and Wheaton SSDP! The George Washington University Law School – Washington, DC (Mid-Altantic Region) Kellen Ruscinello is currently pursuing his JD/MPH degrees as a 2nd year student at GWU Law. Since 2010, he has served as President of the GW Student Association for Drug Law Reform, which was re-chartered

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31
Mar

Outstanding Alum Award: Victor Pinho

Victor became involved with drug policy when he founded the University of Maryland chapter of NORML in 2005. There he teamed up with the campus chapter of SSDP and established a reputation of solid membership, leadership, and political credibility within the drug policy reform efforts at UMD. As an alum, he continued to stay involved. After graduating in 2006 and

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31
Mar

Chapter Leader of the Week: Brandon Levey

Brandon Levey Junior at the University of Maryland, College Park Co-President with Zach Brown at UMD SSDP (longest active chapter in SSDP history, and still going strong!) SSDP: When did you 1st get involved with SSDP? LEVEY: I first got active in SSDP at the end of my first semester in college, in the spring semester of 2009. I looked through

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29
Mar

Outstanding Student Activist Award: Katharine Celentano

Earlier this month over 400 people gathered at our 2011 Training Conference and Lobby Day, and to wrap things up on the last day, SSDP recognized the achievements of several extraordinary student and non-student members during the Awards Ceremony and Benefit Concert. In the coming weeks, keep an eye out as we will write one blog post for each award recipient

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29
Mar

Stop the Raids

Despite the Department of Justice memo advising the DEA and federal prosecutors not to spend resources arresting medical marijuana patients and raiding medical marijuana providers in states that have passed legislation protecting these people, federal agents have recently shut down 26 medical cannabis dispensaries in Montana and California. Just Say Now, SSDP’s partnership with Firedoglake has written a letter telling Attorney

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28
Mar

3 new SSDP chapters

We’re proud to welcome new officially established SSDP chapters at Louisiana State University – Shreveport, University of Houston – Clear Lake, and University of Pittsburgh this week! Read more about each new group and the student leaders who founded them. Louisiana State University – Shreveport Shreveport, LA – Southern Region The LSUS Student News covered the newly created chapter, watch an excerpt of the video

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20
Mar

Conference Comments

SSDP’s 2011 Training Conference & Lobby Day was an inspiring weekend that really spoke volumes to SSDP’s pivotal role in the effort to bring common sense to drug policy. We saw 400 students from all over the country come together not just to learn about policy, but to gain the tools needed to become effective activists – prepared to take on the

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16
Mar

Mexico: First National Congress held

Mexico City, Mexico — On the eve of SSDP’s annual training conference in Washington, DC, students at Mexico City’s National School of Anthropology (ENAH) are preparing to hold their first national congress, from 11 – 14 April. Called “The History and Practice of Drugs: An Anthropological Vision,” the students at the ENAH hope to dispel myths and inform various university

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12
Mar

Cas Haley joins AMPLIFY

SSDP’s AMPLIFY Project is proud to announce Cas Haley as our newest addition to the AMPLIFY artist family! We’re excited to add an artist that has proved determination, hard work, and good vibes can take you a long way (not to mention incredible talent!). Head over to his facebook page and show him some love! Cas’ story is pretty cool: His crystalline

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11
Mar

Southern Connecticut State University Students Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization

CONNECTICUT – The student government association at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) passed a resolution in support of Gov. Malloy’s marijuana decriminalization Bill, SB 1014, with a vote of 12-4 on Friday afternoon. The Student Government Association represents over 13,000 undergraduates in the Connecticut university system. SCSU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Co-President and Student Government Representative Thomas Hils worked with

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9
Mar

Jared Polis Speaks to SSDP

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) will be giving a keynote speech on the evening of March 17, as part of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Training Conference & Lobby Day. Representative Polis is an ally of SSDP and an advocate for sensible drug policies. We are delighted to have him speak at our event. Other speakers at the conference include:  

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8
Mar

Anti-Drug War Graffiti in Mexico City

“Calderonismo” — In reference to Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa These stencilled graffiti appeared on a corner I pass to go to work, Cuauhtemoc and Morelos in the Delegacion Coyoacan. It’s a well-traveled corner, in between a vibrant market and a main thoroughfare. A school sits a couple of blocks away. Coyoacan is one of the oldest, most established, and

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3
Mar

UMD SSDP helps pass Good Samaritan Policy

Four years ago, as a sophomore at the University of Maryland (and at the time President of the UMD SSDP chapter), I was elected to the University Senate, the most powerful policy making body on campus, comprised of 90% faculty, and 10% students. In an effort to place myself in a position to influence campus drug policy, I sought and received

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24
Feb

University of Connecticut Student Government Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization

The University of Connecticut Student Government passed a statement in support of Gov. Malloy’s Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, SB 1014, with a wide majority, 30-1 on Wednesday night. The Undergraduate Student Government represents over 17,000 undergraduates, and endorsing a marijuana reform bill is a rare move by a student government. UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy President and Student Government senator Sam Tracy lead the

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24
Feb

Marijuana: Gateway to the White House

Indiana’s Republican governor, Mitch Daniels, has recently been named a possible contender in the GOP presidential primary. Perhaps realizing that the Oval Office’s three most recent occupants were marijuana users, the governor decided that it couldn’t hurt to expand on his own bust story from May 1970. The Daily Princetonian reported in a recent interview with Daniels that, “Officers found enough marijuana

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20
Feb

Drug War Injustice

The drug war continues to wreak havoc on the lives of U.S. citizens. It continues to wreak havoc on the lives of non-U.S. citizens, too. But we just heard of this case of an Oklahoma woman being sent to prison for a decade for dealing marijuana in front of her children; the grandmother has received a non-custodial sentence, but still

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16
Feb

Dismantling the Drug War

The U.S. House of Representatives just voted to eliminate $34 million in funding for the National Drug Intelligence Center for fiscal year 2011 (on a 262-169 vote). While this news could seem mundane on its face, it’s a huge development. This demonstrates that conservatives in Congress will finally put their money where their rhetoric has been for a long time. Drug policy

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15
Feb

Drugs and Peru

It’s a trend blowing through electoral politics and drug policy around the Americas. Last year, Mexico’s Felipe Calderon mentioned having a debate about legalizing drugs; last month, U.S. President Barack Obama told a YouTube audience that the debate needs to take place; Colombia’s President Santos has joined this chorus, now for a second time; in late January Bolivia sought and failed to achieve an

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14
Feb

Guns and the Mexican Drug War

Trying to figure out where the drug trafficking organizations in Mexico obtain their arms is a major task. It is widely accepted that notwithstanding some of the strictest gun purchasing laws in the Western Hemisphere, the country is awash with firepower. Making their presence felt are guns, grenades, and other materiel, many of which have helped to kill about 36,000

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