When beginning the process of forming a new SSDP chapter, it is always beneficial when one doesn’t have to go it alone. Having an activist partner who is passionate, dedicated and supportive is always helpful and makes it more likely that you will succeed. This is precisely what happened with Marisa Salazar and Patrick Alcala at New Mexico State University (NMSU). As residents of Las Cruces, in southern New Mexico, both Marisa and Patrick find themselves living very near to the United States-Mexico border. The United States is, of course, a primary global consumer of illicit substances and Latin America contains some of the largest producers of these same substances, making this border an area of the world where drug trafficking is very prevalent. I know form our previous conversations that Marisa and Patrick both have a very keen understanding of how drug prohibition and the resulting illicit drug markets it has created are detrimental to New Mexico and society at large.
As student activists involved with the youth liberty movement, both Marisa and Patrick have conveyed to me that they are very interested in connecting their existing advocacy work with drug policy reform. Combined with their location and the diversity of their campus community, I have no doubt that they will have no problem creating an inclusive and unique SSDP chapter. Historically, SSDP has had very little presence in the southwest of the United States. But times are changing. As a student who started my SSDP involvement by founding an SSDP chapter in the southwest five years ago, I could not be more thrilled to have the opportunity to work with both of these stellar individuals to grow SSDP in that part of the country.