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College Students Are Vital To The Marijuana Movement

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Belushi collegeStudents For Sensible Drug Policy Is Key To Marijuana Reform

I will always look back on college as an amazing time in my life. Not only was I learning new subjects, I was also meeting new people. Since I smoked marijuana with people on campus regularly, I was able to make a lot of friends that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to socialize with. College students, if motivated, could become one of the most significant voting blocs in the election system. Considering how popular marijuana reform is among college students, if somehow that desire for reform was harnessed on campuses across the country, big things would happen.

There has never been, and probably will never be, a time in my life that I was more passionate about things than when I was in college. I was so full of ideas and opinions, which was the case with most of my classmates as well. College students are more likely to put in 110% effort for something they believe in, with no pay, than they are to put in 50% effort for something they don’t care for, even if they are compensated. I know when I was an undergrad, I always felt like I was doing something ‘big time’ in college, no matter what the purpose was, and as a result I pursued it with more passion than I ever did in high school.

College campuses are the ‘market place of ideas’ as one Supreme Court Justice put it. They are also a market place for a lot of human capital. Major D1 universities have tens of thousands of students and staff that walk around campus every day, and even smaller schools have hundreds if not thousands of people, creating enormous foot traffic. These are great places to gather signatures, hold rallies, or even just place signs for campaigns or ideas. Who better to pursue such efforts than the college students that live on campus? Imagine if every college campus had ongoing marijuana reform efforts…A lot would get done!

When I was in college, my writing, speaking, analyzing, debating, and problem solving skills were at their best. All of those skills are like muscles, and the more they are worked out the better they perform. When you take 12-22 credit hours in a term, and you survive, you come out the other end a refined academic beast. If harnessed and focused, college students can write better essays for media publications than most paid staff writers for those media outlets. I’m seeing more and more college student pro-marijuana blogs popping up, and I couldn’t be happier! In fact, I am actively pursuing guest posts from college students regularly, so if you have one, please don’t hesitate to e-mail it to me.

Social media is the new bread and butter of politics, and no demographic does social media better than college students. Something that I have pointed out to fellow older activists is what if every college student in America posted on their Facebook wall that they want marijuana prohibition to end, regardless if they consume marijuana or not, because they know that marijuana prohibition is a failed policy. Even if just a fraction of college students posted something to that effect on their Facebook, or tweeted it, or shared it on some other form of social media…the result would be mind blowing.

College students have better access to academic research and materials than most non-college students. I know I personally go to my alma mater just to use their Lexus Nexus database in the library. That doesn’t include the seemingly endless supply of other databases, print material, and the always important access to college professor’s brains. When I’m at home I’m pretty much stuck with Google searches, texting my friends, and sending out e-mails. When I’m on campus, and I want to know something about a legal argument that is being made, I can just go straight to the library, or even better, straight to my old Constitutional Law professor. Whether college students realize it or not, they are living on a campus that has every tool that they would ever need to be a great marijuana activist.

One of the biggest assets that college students have is that there are a LOT of them, and the numbers grow more and more everyday. Like I said before, college students, if motivated, could become one of the most significant voting blocs in the election system. The numbers are already there, if college students would just register and vote. There’s a lot going on in college student’s lives, believe me I know first hand. However, all it takes for college students to dominate elections is simply registering and voting, so I encourage all college students to do so.

What happens to students during college often sets the stage for the rest of that student’s life. If the student fights hard for marijuana reform in college, chances are he or she will continue to fight for marijuana reform the rest of their lives. If you are a college student, and you are looking to get active in the marijuana movement, the best place to start is to see if your campus has a Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter. If you don’t have a chapter already, I advise you to do so. Below is information taken from the Students for Sensible Drug Policy website:

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

En Español

We are the only international network of students dedicated to ending the war on drugs. At heart, SSDP is a grassroots organization, led by a student-run board of directors. We create change by bringing young people together and creating safe spaces for students of all political and ideological stripes to have honest conversations about drugs and drug policy. Founded in 1998, SSDP comprises thousands of members at hundreds of campuses in countries around the globe.

Mission Statement

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.

SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.

Key Values

  • Shared power and authority
  • Youth-controlled agenda
  • Collaboration and partnership
  • Constituent-specific strategies
  • Learning
  • Diversity and inclusion

Values Statement

SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use, rather we respect the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health and well-being. We encourage honest conversation about the realities of the drug war. We promote youth civic engagement as a critical tool in reforming drug policy. SSDP respects the diverse experiences and identities of our constituents. We develop leaders who advocate for policy changes based on justice, liberty, compassion and reason.

SSDP’s Structure as a Grassroots Organization

SSDP is comprised of student chapters all across the world. Any student anywhere can start a chapter. While SSDP has a variety of national campaigns and actions that everyone can participate in, chapters are also encouraged to work on those issues that have the most traction in their own communities. Annually SSDP’ers convene for a national conference. There, students acquire essential activist knowledge and skills. Also, chapters elect students to serve on SSDP’s Board of Directors. The Board in turn selects and oversees SSDP’s executive director, who is responsible for tending to both the day-to-day operations of the organization, as well as its long-term direction. An important duty of the executive director is to hire and manage staff. Currently, besides an executive director, SSDP has two associate directors, an International Liaison, a webmaster and an office administrator. Ultimately, the SSDP staff exists to serve and represent SSDP’s chapters and activists. Click here to meet the SSDP staff and board.

Legally, SSDP consists of two separate, distinct entities – Students for Sensible Drug Policy Foundation and Students for Sensible Drug Policy Inc. The former, as a 501(c)3 organization, engages in education and outreach. Donations to SSDP Foundation are tax-deductible. SSDP Inc, as a 501(c)4 organization, engages in advocacy, or attempts to effect change to law and policy. Accordingly, donations to SSDP Inc are not tax-deductible. Click here to read SSDP Foundation’s bylaws.

For more info, check out our FAQ Section

Contact Information

Students for Sensible Drug Policy
1317 F Street NW; Suite 501
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 393-5280
ssdp@ssdp.org

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Johnny Green

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