I am proud to welcome the University of Georgia chapter to the SSDP network! I spoke with chapter founder and current leader Benjamin Consuegra about his experience so far and his vision for the chapter moving forward; How did you hear about SSDP? I heard about SSDP while doing research for a speech on the drug conviction question on the FAFSA.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
I wanted to get involved in order to stop just being one of those people that talks about our insane drug policy. I wanted to actually try and help in some way. I started the chapter at UGA because I saw that Georgia State and Kennesaw State had chapters and thought it was ridiculous that UGA wasn’t represented.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration?
So far the reception has been positive. I was interviewed on 1340AM WGAU in Athens, a Cox Radio station, and the responses from those who heard me were in agreement, albeit confused on what “sensible” means.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters?
I would like to plan a few “Get the Word Out” events. Essentially, I would like to set-up at a few shows at various venues in Athens, GA and hand out literature and talk with people about what we believe. I would also like to show a documentary or two about the drug war. Lastly, I would love to plan a lecture/debate type of a situation with someone from the legalization/reform side vs. the prohibition side, sort of a “heads vs. feds” type of thing. I would also like to be able to point students in the direction of treatment facilities or lawyers should they need that type of help.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
Figuring out how to balance schoolwork, a social life, and the work required for this group.
What is the most rewarding part?
Changing a person’s mind about the direction our country is going regarding drug policy.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
The possible legalization of marijuana in Colorado is a huge step-forward for everyone in this movement. Once people see that the citizens of that state don’t get lost in a haze of pot smoke and Dorito dust, we can begin to talk seriously about what legalized marijuana would look like.
What is your vision for UGA SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?I would just like to see UGA SSDP continuously growing and adding new members, handing out literature, and forcing a discussion every year about drug policy on campus, in Georgia, and the U.S. as a whole. In 4 or 5 years, I would like to see this organization having an annual event like the debates that I mentioned before. I want every student on campus to know that we exist. Get involved in the UGA chapter or start one at your school!