Students for Sensible Drug Policy
SSDP member distributing literature at U.C. Berkeley
|Key people||Aaron Houston, Anastacia Cosner, Devon Tackels, Drew Stromberg, Jesse Stout|
|Area served||United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, Central and South America, Africa, Australia|
|Focus(es)||Drug Policy, War on Drugs, Marijuana Legalization, Drug Testing|
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is an international non-profit advocacy and education organization based in Washington D.C. SSDP is focused on reforming drug policy in the United States and internationally.
SSDP was first founded in 1998 by a small group of U.S. students from Rochester Institute of Technology and George Washington University in response to that year's reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which contained a provision denying student loans and grants to students with drug convictions.
Aaron Houston has served as Executive Director since June 1, 2010. Stacia Cosner serves as Deputy Director and Drew Stromberg and Devon Tackels serve as the organization's Outreach Directors. The Board of Directors is currently chaired by Sam Tracy, a student at the University of Connecticut.
SSDP functions through somewhat autonomous chapter networks in universities, colleges, and high schools around the world promoting student and teacher activism for change in policy and attitudes toward marijuana prohibition, drug use and drug abuse, and drug policies. As of December 2010, there are more than 150 chapters in the United States, Colombia, Poland, Mexico, Australia, Nigeria, Ireland, Canada and the UK SSDP has staff in Washington DC, San Francisco, Ottawa, and London.
SSDP was founded around the issue of the drug provision in the 1998 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 which denies federal financial aid to students with marijuana or other drug convictions. The HEA has been criticized for disproportionately affecting minorities, working-class, and disabled students.
In addition to opposition of the Higher Education Act, current SSDP campaigns include the promotion of Call 911 Good Samaritan Policies, changing campus drug policies, promoting drug education and counseling, ending zero tolerance policies, advocating the end of the international war on drugs, promoting an end to government anti-drug ads, influencing President Obama, lowering the drinking age, getting politicians to go on the record about drug policy, removing educational barriers for students in prison, working against student drug testing, and advocating for marijuana policy reform.
In addition to working on issues that primarily affect students, many of SSDP's chapters work on local and state-level campaigns such as marijuana deprioritization, lowest law enforcement priority policies for marijuana, marijuana decriminalization, marijuana legalization, reinstating voting rights to felons convicted of marijuana charges, promotion and celebration of the benefits of marijuana use, and medical marijuana. Chapters are also known to hold day-long festivals to promote their cause on campus, with excellent results.
SSDP v. Rep. Mark Souder
Representative Mark Souder of Indiana is well known in SSDP as the author of the Aid Elimination Penalty in the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998. Souder is seen by SSDP as one of the foremost proponents of what they view as insensible marijuana policies. Souder has declined to engage in a debate with SSDP members regarding the Aid Elimination Penalty, and has called the organization "nonsensical" and "legalizers". The "legalizers" comment came in a Dear Colleague letter written by Souder supporting the Higher Education Act Aid Elimination Penalty. SSDP has since responded with a professionally written letter signed by over fifteen other organizations who also oppose the Aid Elimination Penalty including; the United Methodist Church, the National Education Association, the World Summit on the Information Society, and the American Federation of Teachers.
- "Section 483 - 1998 Amendments to Higher Education Act of 1965". Ed.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "SSDP Leadership". Retrieved January 20, 2012.
- "Students for Sensible Drug Policy Chapters". Ssdp.org. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- . YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LvB6CCZRuI&eurl=http://norml.uark.edu/. Retrieved 2010-08-21. Missing or empty
- "The Brown Daily Herald - SSDP aids campaign to win voting rights for felons convicted of marijuana charges". Media.www.browndailyherald.com. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "Hempfest rocks the Zox off URI - News". Media.www.ramcigar.com. 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- http://www.dailybulldog.com/stories/woody5.html[dead link]
- "Microsoft Word - 18971br05.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- “” (2007-12-17). "Mark Souder expresses his love for NORML and SSDP". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "Drugs and money - The Crypt's Blog". Politico.com. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "Full of It: Rep. Mark Souder Souder Gets Called on His Characterization of HEA Reform Supporters". StoptheDrugWar.org. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- Official website
- Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy
- Students for Sensible Drug Policy Poland
- Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK