I am excited to announce the formation of our newest official chapter, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)! With multiple medical marijuana and decriminalization bills, and one legalization bill in the Legislature, Maryland is a hotbed for drug policy reform this year, and it’s fantastic that we have the UMBC chapter up and ready to help out with the fight!
I spoke with chapter founder and leader Nitin Sampathi about his experience so far and his hopes and vision for his chapter moving forward:
How did you hear about SSDP?
I knew I wanted to start a club concerning drug policy but didn’t know where to start. I spoke to my friend at UMD College Park, Tyler Kutner, and he informed me about an SSDP chapter.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
I’ve always been interested into drug policy but ever since I felt the effect of the drug laws first hand, I knew this was something that I needed to do so others wouldn’t have to go through this.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
Most of our campus has yet to hear about us but I am sure the reception will be positive. There are many open-minded clubs that I am sure share the same ideology as us, yet don’t focus on drug policy.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
SSDP t-shirts, documentary screenings and a bake sale!
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
We haven’t come along any real problems yet but I would imagine getting the word out of our cause to give us some difficulties, but it’s nothing that we can’t overcome!
What is the most rewarding part?
Educating and informing people. Especially with drug policy and drugs in general, there is A LOT of misinformation and basically just lies. I am excited to open and challenge people’s minds, to hear other viewpoints and hopefully teach someone, and learn, something new.
What are you most excited about for your chapter, school, or state right now?
I feel like Maryland is approaching a realization of the failed drug policies and is a lot further than other states. Campus-wise, this club is like no other and expands the range of clubs we have here. I am excited to start tabling, to speak to others, and to start making change!
What is your vision for SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
I see SSDP becoming a very big club on campus and our presence will be felt and seen. In the next year I hope we can work together with other clubs and other nearby chapters. In the next 4 or 5 years? oh gosh, hopefully by then we have made some real big change but regardless our motivation and determination will still be far from gone.