While I was at the 2012 Cannabis Law Reform Conference hosted by Oregon Students for Sensible Drug Policy last weekend, I was impressed by what college students can do if they put their minds to it. It also reminded me of being a marijuana activist while I was in college, which was the inspiration behind this blog, and how there needs to be more attention brought to college student’s efforts for marijuana reform. I sent out e-mails across the nation, and even to some international Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapters, with interview questions. I will continue to post the responses as I receive them.
This Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter interview on TWB will be with the University of Idaho. Chapter President Jami Riener was kind enough to send over the following responses ( TWB questions are in bold, above Jamie’s responses):
How long has your Students for Sensible Drug Policy Chapter existed?
SSDP has been on the UI campus since 2008 but was dormant from about 09-12. It has been recently re-activated since about early February 2012.
How many members does your Students for Sensible Drug Policy currently have?
Currently, the group has reached about 20 active members. Our Facebook group page has about 70 members. I think that represents people interest and support of the group, even if they don’t have time to actually advocate.
What is your chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy doing to recruit new members?
We are always welcome to new members and we have been setting up tables/booths in the UI Commons to help recruit people as well as advertise the latest goal/mission of the group.
What are the goals of your Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter for this academic year?
This year we are working on the Medical Marijuana Initiative for Idaho. We are gathering signatures to get Medical Marijuana on the ballot in this Novembers election.
How would you describe the marijuana culture on your campus?
For how conservative Idaho is in general, Moscow is very liberal for the most part. It’s like the melting pot of Idaho. There are so many different beliefs and walks of life and it makes Moscow very rich in culture. The marijuana culture is pretty big here on campus, i have noticed that many don’t advocate for it based on the conservative culture Idaho has been known for, but most people discretely support it. I’m hoping that SSDP will inspire some people to come forward to help advocate for it.
How would you describe the campus laws towards marijuana?
Campus laws can get very strict when it comes to marijuana, especially in the Greek system and student housing, they have zero tolerance for it. I’m hoping the group can eventually soften the punishment on campus towards students.
If you could give advice to college students that are reading this interview, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to voice what you believe in. Change has to start somewhere. Don’t let society silence your opinion and beliefs, because most likely there are other people out there that believe in the same things you do, and together you can pave the path for change.
What would be the benefits of legalizing marijuana?
People who need it could finally get the remedy they need without the risk of addiction or overdose. The tax revenue would help with our national debt and help stimulate the economy. Tax payers money would not be wasted on people in prison for small time possession crimes.
What are the drawbacks of continuing marijuana prohibition?
More money wasted in law enforcement to arrest and prosecute people for possession. More money wasted on inefficient anti-drug ads. People suffering who could use the benefits of marijuana. People overdosing or getting addicted to prescribed remedies such as Oxycontin when marijuana would have the same benefits with less danger.
How would marijuana legalization affect your chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy?
I believe it would open the door to more people being vocal about their opinions and give them the confidence to come and join SSDP without the risk of being judged looked down upon by non-advocates
Do you have any Students for Sensible Drug Policy events coming up in your area?
We have booth times set up all week and our next meeting is March 6th 2012. For more information people can visit our Facebook page by searching UI’s Students for Sensible Drug Policies. I am also attending the national conference in March along with the Vice President of the club.
How can readers support your chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy?
They can join our Facebook group, attend meetings, or help us with various activities and missions we put on. We will also have a booth at the Moscow Hemp Festival if they would like to come see us or volunteer.