The University of Denver College of Law is SSDP’s newest official chapter and our newest law school chapter! I spoke with chapter President Daniel Garcia about how he got involved in SSDP, his plans for the chapter, and what the future holds for their chapter and for SSDP.
How did you hear about SSDP?
Stuart Rubenstein, our Deputy Chair, and I had been involved with SSDP in our undergraduate careers, State University of New York at New Paltz and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, respectively, so we already knew how awesome SSDP was when we decided to start a chapter to DU Law. There was a need for an organization that facilitates discussion and opportunities in drug policy reform at the law school, and DU Law SSDP fulfills that need.
What has the reception been like on campus?
Reception at campus has been astounding! We had a full board for our first board meeting and more than expected turnout at our first general meeting. The faculty and the Student Bar Association shared our excitement in starting DU Law SSDP when we proposed the organization, so it has definitely been a validating experience.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for the spring 2012 and fall 2012 semesters?
Some of things we have planned this semester is a lecture by Dr. Robert Melamede on the need for science-based cannabis laws, a mixer with the CU Law SSDP at the Prohibition Bar to meet and greet before the conference, and several other campaign events for the Tax and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol initiative.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
The most challenging part of starting a law school SSDP chapter is managing school work, a social life, and building up a chapter from the ground up without losing too much sleep.
What is the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part of starting a chapter is forging new discussions and opportunities in drug policy reform where there was little beforehand.
What are you most excited about in drug policy right now?
We are most excited about Colorado’s Tax and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Campaign and facilitating legal internships with cannabis industry groups and local law firms involved in drug policy reform.
What is your vision for Denver Law SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
Our vision for DU Law SSDP in 4 – 5 years is to have a drug law clinic up and running, potentially a drug law journal, and a couple of study abroad opportunities to study international drug policy reform.