In 1998, a few dozen students who had been chatting online became the first cohort of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. They were members of the DARE generation who understood the broad failures of the drug war; they sought each other out to raise their voices against a broken system and start making sense.
Since that time, we’ve expanded our presence to more than 300 campuses in 32 countries and have mobilized tens of thousands of young people to advocate for a more sensible approach to drug laws. Countless policy reforms led or supported by SSDPers now protect people from punishment if they call for help during an overdose, help people education regardless of drug citations, and provide safe access to cannabis for adult or medical use.
We invite you to explore our history and significant milestones since our inception.
1996 - 1997
In 1997, the Rochester Cannabis Coalition (RCC) at the Rochester Institute of Technology applied to become the first official student organization dedicated to ending the “War on Drugs.” RIT denied RCC’s application and ultimately expelled the lead organizer, Shea Gunther ‘98, who would go on to become an SSDP founder.
SDRM members at University of Massachusetts Amherst hosted a conference for approximately 50 students, many of which would go on to join Shea in founding SSDP. On October 1, 1998, the Rochester Cannabis Coalition renamed themselves “Students for Sensible Drug Policy,” marking our official founding date.
First Loan Replacement Program.
Hampshire College instituted the first HEAAEP loan replacement program and its president was the first to come out against the HEAAEP.