Currently, I am attending the 2014 Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference in Washington D.C. Over the past couple years I have been to many conferences in D.C., and throughout the United States, but I have never been to a conference quite like this. Drug policy reform is clearly something that is very close to my heart. In all honesty, I think that the Drug War in the United States is the most prevalent and important issue facing the US today. Living in a more rural area of the country, this is not the most popular opinion to hold, but that is certainly not the case at the SSDP Conference.
While the conference is activism and policy heavy with groups represented like the Marijuana Policy Project, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Students For Liberty, there is also a large presence of cannabis entrepreneurs represented like the ArcView Group and the National Cannabis Industry Association. Along with the groups represented to table at the conference, the weekend is packed full of different lecture sessions hosted by the top activists in the nation. These sessions have topics ranging from social media activism to information sessions on industrial hemp.
If there were three words I would use to describe this conference, it would have to be safety, knowledge, and passion. The attendees of this conference all seem to have a vested interest in the general safety of those around them. That is why they support sensible drug policy in the first place. I have heard dozens of stories of student groups on campus changing drug policy in some kind of way, whether it be Good Samaritan Laws or overdose training, that results in lives being saved. Along with safety, these students are all about education and knowledge. Drugs are a taboo in society that have a shroud of ignorance and misinformation surrounding them, but these students seek to end that. These students have had enough with the myths and incorrect stigma of drug policy and usage, and fight it in every kind of way on campus. Lastly, the passion I have observed over this weekend has been absolutely awe-inspiring. These students are complete rebels! Radicals! Revolutionaries! They come from a wide spread array of political backgrounds and unite under the common cause of ending the Drug War.
If you are a student and interested in playing a part in fighting the Drug War, you should definitely look into finding the Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter on your campus, or start your own chapter if there is none already. I started my chapter at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and I certainly do not regret it. SSDP’s website can be found here.