Team Highlight: Jason Ortiz ‘08

Team Highlight: Jason Ortiz ‘08

For the rest of the year, we will be introducing you to our team at Students for Sensible Drug Policy! Next, we have our Executive Director, Jason Ortiz!

Jason Ortiz ‘08 (he, him, el)

Executive Director

Previous and/or Current Chapter Involvement

UConn Storrs, was CFO for many years

Short Bio 

Jason Ortiz is an almnus of the UConn SSDP chapter, and served on the SSDP Board of Directors twice, including time as the Chair of the Diversity Committee. He is the immediate past president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and lead the organizing around the production of a people of color cannabis policy summit that brought together dozens of stakeholders of color to draft a model legalization bill written, funded and organized exclusively by people of color. In his home state of Connecticut, Jason was the lead drafter of HB 6377, “An act creating an equitable and modern cannabis workforce” and sits on the board of the CT Working Families Party. In addition to his drug policy work, Jason has also served as President of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda and served on the National Puerto Rican agenda board where he organized for economic justice for his home island of Puerto Rico.

What campaigns and/or programs are you involved in at SSDP?

Aerial crop eradication campaign for Indigenous coca farmers

How did you find SSDP? 

I was arguing with friends about drug policy and my friend, Amanda, said “You should join SSDP!”

What is your favorite thing about being a part of SSDP? 

Being able to debate really difficult issues with super smart people

If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be? Why?

Bruce Lee. His approach to martial arts influenced my political perspective, non-ideological organizing that still retains incredible power.

Favorite Food

Ice cream!

Favorite Quote 

Si Se Puede! “Yes, it can be done!”

Anything else you’d like included?

I was arrested at age 16 for cannabis possession, then was able to go to college because of the work of drug policy activsts changing the Higher Education Act federal aid elimination penalty. So, I was able to go to college because of the work of SSDP. Small changes to laws can have huge impacts! 

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With thousands of members at hundreds of chapters across the United States and the world, Students for Sensible Drug Policy is working to replace the failed and misguided War on Drugs with policies that value public health, human rights, and individual liberties. Invest in a more sensible future by making your tax-deductible donation to SSDP today!