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Students for Sensible Drug Policy

2012-2013 Report


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Media Highlights



Chapter Network



Students + Alumni

Where Our Alumni Work

2013-2014 Objectives

Ways to Donate

Financial Information Partners + Allies


Board of Directors

Dear Supporter:

Dear Supporter:

Drug policy reform is an exploding social and political movement following our victories in Washington and Colorado last November. But it’s a surprisingly few number of people who are working within the organizations that are driving these changes. Leaders and implementers in this movement are in short supply.

Nearly four years ago, I was a freshman at the University of Connecticut looking to turn my love of politics into meaningful action. Trying to find my place, I attended the first few meetings of nearly a dozen student organizations - but none felt right. We’d talk about current events, then set our next meeting date and adjourn. After a few weeks, it seemed like everyone was unhappy about something, but no one was actually trying to make change. Then I found SSDP.

This is where Students for Sensible Drug Policy comes in. We fill the pipeline with the future leaders of the drug policy reform movement.

At my first meeting, the chapter leaders gave a quick explanation of what SSDP was, then had everyone in the room call our congressman and help advertise an upcoming event. We didn’t just talk about what was wrong with our current policies - we worked to improve them. By the end of that meeting, I was an SSDPer for life.

One of those leaders is Alec Foster, a star activist from our New York University chapter. Alec worked at the White House as an intern in the Office of Presidential Personnel. Last fall, when I happened to be there meeting with senior White House staffers about marijuana policy, I dropped by afterward to visit Alec in his office. It was humbling and it hit home for me the power of SSDP — that our message reaches far beyond just the four full-time staff members we employ. It comes in the form of the thousands of students we inspire and motivate to go out and persuade others to support drug policy reform. When Alec was interviewed about his activism by USA Today in March, he was quoted as saying that he wouldn’t have earned a White House internship without having been involved with SSDP. But he also said something wise beyond his years: “You can’t really learn to be a leader from a class.”

We’re the only organization with thousands of members across the world working to end the Drug War on all its fronts. We give our chapters a great degree of autonomy, allowing them to identify the best opportunities for change and then work to make them happen.

Rachelle Yeung also learned to be a leader from SSDP. She’s been part of our growing network of law school chapters who was an integral part of the legalization campaign in Colorado this past fall. There’s Jurri Van den Hurk, a student in Virginia who told me that he got his first suit and short haircut because he wanted to look professional for an SSDP lobby day. And there’s Rebecca Saltzman, an SSDP alum who was just elected to the Board of Directors for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System in November.

The big difference between us and other drug policy reform groups is that we are by far the best return on investment, because we primarily rely on volunteer power. In order to sustain our robust network of activists, we need staff in our national office who will mentor and guide them through the leadership pipeline. Every day, I beam with pride at what our small staff of four people accomplishes, managing a network of 3,000 activists on 200 campuses while working out of 192 square feet of office space.

Yet while our chapters are the backbone of SSDP, they’d be nowhere near as powerful if not for our phenomenal staff. Aaron, Stacia, Devon, and Drew work tirelessly to assist our members, turning them from curious students into prohibition-ending all-stars. From massive international conferences to one-on-one consulting on how to run a good meeting, they’re there to teach our members and help them learn from one another. Meanwhile, our volunteer, student-run board of directors works to support the staff and guide the activities of the organization.

And as you’ll see in this report, we’re a growing family of activists. Now that we’ve celebrated our 15th year of existence, alumni who met through SSDP are creating new families and having babies, such as the Krane family featured in these pages. I like to say — only half jokingly — that they’re adding to the leadership pipeline one young person at a time.

Director, Stacia Cosner Deputy Director,, Devon Tackels Outreach Director, Drew Stromberg Outreach Director

And none of this would be possible without people like you. Donations large and small make it possible for us to continue expanding our network, raising awareness, and most importantly, changing laws. Thank you so much for your support. Sam Tracy Chair, Brandon Levey Vice Chair, Julie Roberts Treasurer, Eric Sterling, Graham

Aaron Houston Executive

Sensibly Yours, Aaron Houston Executive Director

This is why SSDP is so effective. The War on Drugs is ter-

ribly pervasive, with counterproductive policies in effect at the international, federal, state, local, and even campus levels. And we’re the only organization with thousands of members across the world working to end the Drug War on all its fronts. We give our chapters a great degree of autonomy, allowing them to identify the best opportunities for change and then work to make them happen.

This doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes work to develop leaders. It takes dedicated outreach staff checking in with chapters regularly, helping them figure out policy solutions at the local level, and training them to train others within their chapters.

Thank you for your support. Together, we will end the war on drugs.

During my time as a chapter member, I was involved in more successful campaigns than I could describe on this page. UConn SSDP helped make Connecticut the 12th state to decriminalize marijuana and the 17th state to allow its medical use. We took over our student government, then used that leverage to expand our sober rides program and bring our campus marijuana penalties in line with those for underage alcohol consumption.

De Barra, Thomas Silverstein,

Stay Sensible, Sam Tracy Board Chair

Kris Krane, Kat Humphries, Randy Hencken, Stephen Duke, Rodrigo ‘Froggy’ Vasquez, Kellen Russoniello






+ July 2012: Devon Tackels Calls Out Drug Czar

“Not every job involves calling out senior White House officials on national television, but I’m lucky that mine does. In July 2012, I went to an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies with Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), otherwise known as the Drug Czar. I questioned his statement that the war on drugs has supposedly ended, since the rising death toll in Mexico certainly still looks like war. Kerlikowske predictably dodged the question, but I got our message out to C-SPAN viewers all over the nation and hopefully caused some viewers to question the Drug Czar’s propagandistic presentation. This was a big responsibility, because I ask our students all over the country to do the same thing regularly: to speak truth to power to their local and state elected officials. You can watch my exchange on SSDP’s YouTube channel.”

A Family of Activists. “Part of what makes SSDP special is that we’re more than just an organization. We’re a family of activists. Former executive director and current board member, Kris Krane, and his wife, former Vice Chair of our board of directors, Jenny Janicheck-Krane, met through their shared involvement in SSDP.”


Feb 2013: Sensible Drug Policy Inside Congress


Siblings for Sensible Drug Policy. Deputy Director Stacia Cosner and her brother, Buddy Cosner, at the U.S. Capitol during SSDP’s Federal Marijuana Lobby Day, June 2013. Buddy is also in the process of starting an SSDP chapter at Morgan State University. Earlier this year, Buddy delivered testimony in favor of a marijuana decriminalization bill in Maryland’s state legislature.

SSDP staff members played a key role in helping to advise the newly formed “Sensible Drug Policy Working Group” that brings together Members of Congress, their staff, and advocates to help forge a new path forward in regulating marijuana. The group released a report authored by Congressmen Jared Polis (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) entitled “The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy.”

July 2012: Getting Drug Warrior Congressman Frank Wolf On the Record

doctors and state-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal. To stop these raids, leading Members of Congress offered an amendment to the Justice Department spending bill to block the DEA from raiding patients, doctors and medical marijuana dispensaries in medical marijuana states. The amendment was debated on May 9, 2012 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Unfortunately, despite many strong statements by members of Congress in support, the Amendment was defeated in a roll-call vote. Only one member stood up to defend the raids, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). Wolf, nearly hysterical, brought up almost every myth about marijuana. He even suggested that medical marijuana laws should be compared to laws that would allow sexual trafficking in children! SSDP, in the long, honorable tradition of world-wide student activism, went to his home turf of Leesburg, Virginia to call out Rep. Wolf to his constituents and to confront him at the Fourth of July parade as he was campaigning for re-election to a 17th term.

Aug 2012: New Logo + Sensible Membership In August 2012, we unveiled a new logo along with the “Sensible Membership” program. Our work wouldn’t be possible without small donations from supporters like you. To date, we have received more than $10,000 in recurring donations, so that puts us a little more than halfway toward our goal of $20,000. Visit for more information.

As we saw this year, the DEA continues to raid patients,



Media Highlights

Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy—a group with chapters on college campuses nationwide— told U.S. News that the age restriction “comes up for us on a regular basis because the majority of our constituency is people between the ages of 18 and 21.” “Young Adults Left Behind By Marijuana Legalizations in Colorado, Washington”, U.S. News and World Report, Jan 15, 2013


Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots organization that seeks to empower youth through drug education. Sebastian Blake SwaeShampine, legislative action director for Michigan’s chapter of SSDP, said the bill was the first step in combating the “war on drugs.” “The imposition of a fine rather than punishment through prosecution would bring the consequences of marijuana abuse in the domain of public health rather than criminal justice,” said Swae-Shampine said. “Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Introduced to Michigan House of Representatives”, The Michigan Daily, April 25, 2013

Whether it’s the College Republicans, Students for a Democratic Society, Young Americans for Liberty, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, or any other student group engaging in free expression, we stand ready to defend their right to do so. “Why Students Need A Guide to Free Speech On Campus More Than Ever”, PBS, Aug 6, 2012

For many years, calling 911 or campus safety hotlines in a drug or alcohol overdose situation could result in disciplinary action for the student in trouble, the student who called and other students in the group. However, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an organization gaining ground on campuses across the United States, is fighting to change that. “I wouldn’t be a student senator, or have applied for a White House internship, without being a part of SSDP and recognizing my potential as a leader,” said Foster. “You can’t really learn to be a leader from a class.” “Drug Policy Debate Pushes Students Toward Activism, Leadership”, USA Today College, Mar 17, 2013

Students for Sensible Drug Policy believes progressive school policy yields the safest and least destructive drug culture possible. Progressive drug policy, once considered political suicide, now defines a new political consensus. “SSDP On Drug Culture”, The Brown Daily Herald, April 17, 2013

“The rationale behind having a Good Samaritan policy was removing that hesitation when there’s a life-threatening situation,” [SSDP’s Stacia] Cosner said. “We just think it’s a logical extension to protect people.” Irina Alexander,

who served as president of this university’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, agreed. “Even if this policy saves one life, it’s completely worth it,” she said. “It seems like a really logical, straightforward policy.” “All-inclusive Good Samaritan Policy Passes University of Maryland Senate”, The Diamondback, Feb 13, 2013

Norquist comes at the issue from a libertarian bent. “A lot of folks... across the political spectrum recognize this as a federalism issue,” Norquist told the crowd gathered for the event, which was sponsored by Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “Marijuana legalization is something that should be a conservative issue, and Grover is helping to bolster that argument,” says Aaron Houston, executive director. “When Grover Met Jared: Norquist, Polis Odd Couple on Marijuana”, The Washington Post, June 26, 2013





Total Facebook page likes (all time)

Total email supporters (all time)

Website views (in the past year)

Youtube views (all time)





Students provided with one-on-one support

Emails to legislative bodies (in the past year)

Dollars in our annual budget (in the past year)

New email supporters (in the past year)





Online donations (in the past year)

Mentions by news media (in the past year)

New chapter applications (in the past year)

People who have ever been in an SSDP chapter





Phone calls made to CO voters for Amendment 64

Full time staff members

People at our last conference

Square feet in our office





State drug policies influ-

Campus drug policies changed, 2012 acad. year

Students who have testified in state legislatures in 2012

Student board members (College or law students)

enced since September


media highlights




June 2012: Decriminalizing Adult Marijuana Possession In Rhode Island

the process from the beginning, attending coalition meetings, drafting language, and conducting outreach.

In June 2012, Gov. Chafee signed S2253/H7092 into law. This legislation replaces the criminal penalties for adults’ possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a civil violation of $150 for most violations. Rhode Island SSDPers canvassed local neighborhoods to gather grassroots support, authored several op-eds and Letters-to-the-Editor in local newspapers, lobbied representatives, and even testified before lawmakers in support of passing the legislation.

Jan 2013: Keene State Brings 911 Good Samaritan Policy to Campus

Nov 2012: Making History in Colorado With the Passage of Amendment 64 Aug 2012: Equalizing Penalties for Marijuana and Alcohol Violations at Ithaca College Starting the fall 2012 semester, Ithaca College will punish both marijuana and alcohol violations with the same sanctions. For more than a year, Ithaca College’s chapter of SSDP had worked with the Student Government Association and the administration on the details of the new “equalization policy”, which was included with other recommendations from the Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention (AOD) Team that would change the judicial protocol for sanctioning students caught in possession of minor amounts of marijuana.

Aug 2012: Florida State University Implements Medical Amnesty Policy In August 2012, Florida State University announced a Medical Amnesty Policy to take effect in the fall 2012 semester. Our chapter at FSU had been working with their administration for years in efforts to implement a 911 Good Samaritan Policy on their campus and their hard work finally paid off.

Oct 2012: SUNY New Paltz Codifies 911 Good Samaritan Policy Announced in October 2012, administrators at the State University of New York at New Paltz have agreed to include in the new 2012-2013 Student Handbook a 911 Good Samaritan Policy, which seeks to protect students from disciplinary action for underage drinking or drug possession when calling for help in a medical emergency. New Paltz SSDP worked to enact this policy during the 2011-2012 school year after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a statewide Good Samaritan Policy in 2011.



Colo.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) at a press conference announcing the introduction of H.R. 499, the “Ending Federal Prohibition of Marijuana Act of 2013.” The bill would end federal prohibition of marijuana and regulate it similarly to alcohol, deferring to states that decide to legalize marijuana.

Students and activists from across the country utilized our custom-built phonebank system to make more than 18,000 phone calls to Colorado voters in support of Amendment 64. We also coordinated the only student-orientated GOTV effort. Our volunteers engaged with more than 10,000 student voters on six Colorado campuses in the final days of the campaign. Thanks in part to our students’ efforts, the initiative passed.

Nov 2012: Eastern Michigan University Students Help Make Marijuana the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority in Ypsilanti Our students at Eastern Michigan University crafted a city-wide ballot initiative to pass a lowest law enforcement priority for marijuana in the city of Ypsilanti. Over the past election cycle they gathered the signatures to get it on the ballot, and saw it through with canvassing and educational campaigns within the Ypsilanti community. Not only did it pass, but it passed with an impressive margin at 74 percent! Now, police will be able to redirect police efforts from enforcing laws against marijuana use, and instead focus on serious crimes.

Dec 2012: District of Columbia Mayor Signs Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Amendment Act of 2012 On December 7, 2012, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray signed the Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Amendment Act of 2012. The legislation provides limited legal protection for those who witness or experience a drug overdose and summon medical assistance. The law went into effect in March 2013, after having gone before the United States Congress for review, as required by federal law. SSDP students and board members were involved in

Our students at Keene State College played an integral role in passing a 911 Good Samaritan Policy on campus. After drafting the policy themselves, they spent a semester educating their campus about the benefits of the policy through aggressive outreach. Then, KSC SSDP students petitioned the school with majority student support for passage. Following the petition, our students worked oneon-one with school administrators to make sure the policy was implemented.

Spring 2013: MCLA Adopts 911 Good Samaritan Policy During the Spring 2013 semester, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts adopted a 911 Good Samaritan Policy on campus. This policy was proposed by our chapter, and was seen through by diligent work between our students and their working relationship with campus administrators. This policy will be part of freshman orientation for the first time starting in Fall 2013.

Feb 2013: University of Maryland Approves 911 Good Samaritan Policy For All Drugs After proposing a measure nearly six years ago that would protect students intoxicated on drugs or alcohol from university sanctions if they call 911 for themselves or a friend, the University of Maryland University Senate voted, overwhelmingly, to approve an all-inclusive 911 Good Samaritan policy. The policy first passed the University Senate in 2011, when it was amended to only include alcohol. But activists quickly mobilized to push for a policy that included all drugs, leading former undergraduate senator and current vice chair of SSDP’s board of directors, Brandon Levey, to propose all-inclusive legislation in 2012. The campaign was started by now Deputy Director of SSDP, Stacia Cosner when she was a UMD SSDP member. She is pictured here with current and former UMD student activists who were part of the years-long effort, including Brandon Levey (Board Vice Chair).

Feb 2013: Congressman Jared Polis Introduces Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition In February 2013, SSDP joined Congressmen Jared Polis (D-

June 2013: Administrators Approve 911 Good Samaritan Policy at Roosevelt University Our students at Roosevelt University spent much of the Spring 2013 semester working to implement a 911 Good Samaritan Policy on campus. After drafting the policy, they submitted a proposal to university administration, and worked tirelessly with administrators through the policymaking process to get the proposal accepted. The recently passed policy is scheduled to take effect fall 2013.

May 2013: New Jersey’s Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act Becomes Law SSDP was proud to be a member of New Jersey’s New Solutions Campaign, where our students worked on their campuses and in their communities to promote a statewide 911 Good Samaritan Policy. New Jersey students educated community members about drug overdose and prevention, lobbied state legislators, and wrote op-eds and letters-tothe-editor in local and state newspapers. Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law in May 2013.



Sept 2012: Northeast Regional Conference Over 100 students gather in Providence, RI for the 2012 Northeast Regional SSDP Conference.




Chapter Network





Active SSDP chapters in the U.S.

Law school chapters

Active chapter members

Avg. members per chapter



States with active chapters

Countries outside U.S. with active chapters

U.S. Chapters American University Anne Arundel Community College Appalachian State University Arizona State University Auburn University Augustana College Austin Peay University Berkeley City College Boise State University Boston College Boston University Bridgewater State Brooklyn Law School Brown University Butte Community College California State UniversityEast Bay California State UniversityFullerton Carnegie Mellon University Central Michigan University Chandler-Gilbert Community College Chemeketa Community College Chico State University


chapter network

Christopher Newport University Clark University Colgate University College of Charleston College of the Redlands College of William and Mary Colorado State University Columbia University Community College of Rhode Island Connecticut College Cornell University Creighton University CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice Dickinson College Duke University Duquesne University Eastern Michigan University Eckerd College Edmonds Community College Edwin O. Smith High School Emerson College Everett Community College Fairmont State University Fayetteville High School

Fitchburg State University Florida Gulf Coast University Florida International University Florida State University Fort Lewis College Francis W. Parker High School Gallaudet University George Washington University George Washington University Law School Georgetown University Law Center Georgia State University Golden Gate University Green Mountain College Grinnell College Hartsville High School Harvard College Harvard Law Hendrix College Highland Park High School Hunter College Illinois Wesleyan University Iowa City West High School Itasca Community College Ithaca College

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College James Madison University John F. Kennedy University Kalamazoo College Kansas State University Keene State College Kennesaw State University Kent State University Lacey Township HS Lafayette College Lawrence University Lewis and Clark Law School Lewis and Clark University Lone Star College Tomball Los Angeles City College Louisiana State University Manchester University Maryville College Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Mesa Community College Michigan State University Middle Tennessee State University Midwestern State University Monarch High School Montana State University

New College of Florida New York University North Carolina State University North East High School Northeastern University Northeastern University School of Law Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge Campus Northland Pioneer College Northwest Michigan University Northwestern University Ohio University Oregon State University Pennsylvania State University-Berks Portland State University Red Rocks Community College Rhodes College Rice University Roosevelt University Rowan University Rutgers University - New Brunswick Saint Charles Community College Salt Lake Community College San Diego State University Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Schenectady County Community College Schoolcraft Community College Smith College South Dakota State University Southern Arkansas University St. Cloud State University SUNY Binghamton University SUNY Fredonia SUNY New Paltz SUNY Oswego SUNY Potsdam Towson University Truman University

Tufts University Tulane University Tunxis Community College University of Alabama University of Alabama Birmingham University of Arizona University of California Merced University of California -Berkeley University of CaliforniaHastings School of Law University of CaliforniaIrvine University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara University of CaliforniaSanta Cruz University of Central Florida University of Chicago University of Cincinnati University of Colorado Boulder University of Colorado Colorado Springs University of Colorado Denver University of Colorado School of Law University of Connecticut University of Denver Law School University of Florida University of Georgia University of Hartford University of Idaho University of Kentucky University of MaineFarmington University of Maryland University of Maryland Baltimore College University of Maryland School of Law University of MassachusettsBoston University of Miami University of MichiganAnn Arbor University of Missouri Columbia University of Nebraska Omaha

University of Nevada-Reno University of New Hampshire University of New Haven University of North Carolina Chapel Hill University of North Carolina Charlotte University of North Florida University of North Georgia University of North Texas University of Oregon-Eugene University of Pennsylvania University of Rhode Island University of San Diego School of Law University of South Alabama University of South Florida University of Southern California University of Texas Austin University of the Incarnate Word University of Toledo University of West Florida University of WisconsinMadison University of WisconsinPlatteville Ursinus College Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Tech Washington State University-Pullman West Chester University West Virginia University Western Michigan University Western Washington University Westminster College Whitman College Whittier Law School Williams College

Africa AME Zion University Prince of Wales School Government Rokel Secondary School Australia Australia Victoria University Colombia Universidad Nacional de Colombia Nacional Universidad de Caldas MĂŠxico Mexico UACM Mexico Universidad Veracruzana Universidad Nacional Autonoma de MĂŠxico Netherlands Dutch (various chapters) Nigeria Nigeria (various chapters) Ireland Ireland University of Cork Jamaica University of the West Indes (Jamaica)

chapter network




Sept 2012: Mountain Plains Regional Conference

June 2013: Federal Marijuana Lobby Day

A few months before the 2012 election, our Mountain Plains Regional Conference was held in Boulder, Colorado, with a large emphasis on Amendment 64, the 2012 campaign to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Students met with Amendment 64 campaign directors and learned about the campaign’s strategy, effective messaging, and how students could get involved in the effort.

More than 50 students from across the country convened in Washington, DC to lobby their elected officials on marijuana policy reform. We provided students with lobbying training and talking points, and assisted them in scheduling their meetings. One piece of sensible legislation our students lobbied for was HR 499, the Ending Federal Prohibition of Marijuana Act of 2013, sponsored by Congressman Jared Polis (D-Co.) which essentially aims to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies, protecting their law-abiding residents and business from federal prosecution. Post lobbying, we hosted a reception on Capitol Hill with special guests from across the political spectrum, including Congressman Polis and conservative stalwart Grover Norquist. By bringing these two elected officials with starkly different philosophies together to champion the same cause, we were able to illustrate and promote the truly nonpartisan nature of marijuana policy reform.

Boulder, Colorado

Sept 2012: Northeast Regional Conference This past September, more than 120 students gathered at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island to “talk it up” about drug policy reform. Over the course of the weekend, students heard from prominent leaders in the drug policy reform movement and discussed building political capital through coalitions, drug policy activism in the internet age, diversifying the drug policy reform movement, the state of medical marijuana, juvenile justice reform, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Providence, Rhode Island

Oct 2012: Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference More than 50 students gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. This particular conference had an inward focus; discussion was centered around examining ourselves as an organization and a larger movement, and how we all work together. Topics discussed included storytelling, drug education, prison overpopulation, working for local change, fostering open discussions, and staying involved in drug policy activism after college. Atlanta, Georgia

Nov 2012: Florida/Southern Regional Conference The 2012 Florida/Southeastern Regional Conference, attended by more than 30 students focused mainly on Florida’s newly enacted statewide Good Samaritan Policy and syringe exchange in Florida, including panels and



Washington, District of Columbia

April 2013: 1-Day Drug Policy Activism Training Boot Camps discussions on Syringe Disposal in Miami and the Florida Medical Association Syringe Exchange Resolution, Syringe Exchange History and Current Status in Florida, and getting the word out about the new Good Samaritan Policy. Other topics discussed included social movement framing and how to effectively work together to achieve change. Tampa, Florida

Nov 2012: Midwest Regional Conference This past November, more than sixty students gathered at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, to discuss our movement at large and how we could better work to connect the dots within. Topics discussed included building coalitions within movements, lobbying for reform, diversifying SSDP, the science of drugs and policy, campus drug education, and chapter recruitment, fundraising, and event planning. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Our Spring Drug Policy Activism Boot Camp Series served to unite the SSDP chapter network for a series of one day training workshops, discussion, networking, and expert presentations aimed to help our students refine their leadership and organizing skills as advocates for ending the destructive war on drugs. Topics of discussion included chapter fundraising, chapter management, effective communication, and influencing policy change. Nearly 100 students from 25 schools attended one of our boot camps. Training materials from our sessions are available in the resources section of our website. Boston, Mass. - Chicago, Illinois - Portland, Oregon

Mark Your Calendar: 2014 International SSDP Conference and Lobby Day

Date: Friday Sept 26 - Monday Sept 29, 2014 Location: Holiday Inn Rosslyn - Alexandria, VA URL:

AMPLIFY is a project of Students for Sensible Drug Policy that connects student activists with artists who support SSDP’s mission to reform drug policies. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship between SSDP and artists, where both parties help to promote each other. In the 2012-2013 school year, the AMPLIFY Project experienced an unprecedented surge of growth and support from musicians, students, and advocates across the country. Students from more than 20 chapters engaged concert goers at more than 45 individual shows and 6 major US music festivals. During concerts, students worked hard to provide information related to starting an SSDP chapter, supporting drug policy reform, evidence based drug education materials, and providing on-site harm reduction services to thousands of individuals. In 2012, AMPLIFY launched an aggressive social media campaign to further engage our supporters, and our volunteers reached over 105,000 individuals via social media networks in the last year. Additional success can be seen in the project by bringing multiple new headlining artists into the activism fold including Umphrey’s McGee, Big Gigantic, and EOTO. It’s safe to say the AMPLIFY Project is stronger than ever, and working hard to help SSDP spread the message of reform across the US. Partnered Artists: Umphrey’s McGee Slightly Stoopid Big Gigantic EOTO Lotus The Black Seeds The Green Ott. Papadosio Zoogma Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad Roots of Creation The Motet Rubblebucket

Yellow Dubmarine Passafire John Brown’s Body Cas Haley Antioquia Jahman Brahman IndigoSun Cindercat Mr. Lif Erothyme Sellassie Signal Path Octopus Nebula Dr. Slothclaw

Students + Alumni

Alec Foster, Student at New York University

Jurri Van den Hurk, Student at Virginia Commonwealth University

“I wouldn’t be a student senator, or have applied for a White House internship, without being a part of SSDP & recognizing my potential as a leader,” said Foster. “You can’t really learn to be a leader from a class.”

Far Left: Jurri with Ethan Nadelmann of Drug Policy Alliance, Left: Jurri before joining SSDP

Jurri, one of our star chapter leaders, told us that he got his first suit and short haircut because he wanted to look professional for an SSDP lobby day.

Alec Foster, summing up the power of our network in a USA Today story (“Would You Call for Help if Your Friend Overdosed?”) on March 7, 2013.

Where Our Alumni Work


Mike Liszewski, Alumnus University of the District of Columbia Mike also learned to be a leader from SSDP. When he was a law student and SSDP activist, he was also an intern in the city council committee that worked on implementing Washington, DC’s medical marijuana regulations. He went on to become a member of our Board of Directors and now works as the Legislative Director at Americans for Safe Access.


Students + Alumni

Rachelle Yeung, Alumnus University of Colorado School of Law Rachelle is part of our growing network of law school chapters who was an integral part of the campaign in Colorado this past fall. She was recently hired as a Legislative Analyst by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Rebecca Saltzman, Alumnus University of California, Berkeley Rebecca is an alumna of SSDP and was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART).

Tom Angell, Alumnus University of Rhode Island Tom has worked for or with every major drug policy organization in the United States. He got his start with SSDP. In fact, Tom founded RIPAC in his home state of Rhode Island when he was still a student chapter leader and was a key part of passing the medical marijuana law there. Since then, Tom has gone on to found a new national organization, Marijuana Majority, but to this day, our students in Rhode Island carry on his work.

Administrative Assistant, 280E Reform Managing Partner, 4Front Advisors Vice President, adTV LLC President and CEO, Algae Systems Policy Director, Americans for Safe Access Outreach and Events Coordinator, Americans for Safe Access Education Reentry Specialist, AmeriCorps Nutrition Education Coordinator, AmeriCorps CEO, The ArcView Group Assistant Director, Arlington County Department of Health and Human Services Outreach Counselor, At the Crossroads Co-Founder, Baltimore Green Currency Association Creative Director, Barbara Lee for Congress BART Board Director, Bay Area Rapid Transit District Chief Operating Officer, Berkeley Patients Group

Marketing Manager, Blue Shield of California Paralegal, California Appellate Law Group Government Affairs Manager, California League of Conservation Voters Senior Campaigner, Volunteer English Teacher, Chilean Ministry of Education Founder, Collective Agency Research Assistant, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Chief of Staff, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation General Manager, DP Dough Tour Guide, Farm Sanctuary Owner, Green Herbalist Ombudsman, Harborside Health Center Lead Communications Specialist, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Senior Agnostic Algorithmatist, Inigral, Inc. Director, Center for Social Responsibility, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

Intern, Kevin Stephens Design Group Media Relations Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Paralegal, Law Offices of James Anthony Policy Director, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children Criminal Defense Attorney, Leonard I. Frieling, PC Legislative Analyst, Marijuana Policy Project Clinical Research Assistant, Massachusetts General Hospital Associate, Morrison & Foerster LLP Policy Coordinator, National Alliance on Mental Illness Executive Director, National Cannabis Coalition Teacher (4th grade), Phoenix Day School for the Deaf President, Renewable Choice Energy Associate Director, Sensible Colorado

Office Manager, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Outreach Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Outreach Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Deputy Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Communications Coordinator, TechFreedom Criminal Defense Attorney, Todd Foster Law Group Associate Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Political Science PhD Candidate, University of California – Los Angeles Teaching Assistant, University of California – Los Angeles Constituent Development Coordinator, University of Idaho Senior Associate, Vicente Sederberg, LLC Presidential Personnel Intern, The White House Policy assistant, World Food Programme

students + ALuMNI


Organizational Objectives July 2013 - July 2014

Movement Building

Education + Advocacy

Expanding Our Reach: We will expand our network to more than 200 chapters and 3,000 active members in the United States. We will provide resources and support to our international chapter network.

Engaging Our Supporters: We will actively engage our supporter base through regular and carefully curated email contact. All staff will be involved in the cycle of fundraising, including asking for donations in person, involving donors, and thanking them. We will seize compelling opportunities to address audiences concerning drug policy reform and to engage in public debates.

Bringing People Together: Our staff will utilize professional best practices in event planning, execution and evaluation. We will continue to work with local chapters to host regional conferences–each attended by an average of 50 participants–in 6 locations during the Spring 2014 semester. Additionally, we will begin planning to host an international conference and lobby day in the fall of 2014 in Washington DC with 500 attendees. Strengthening the Network: At least 250 students will participate in at least one interactive skills building webinar. Additionally, 250 students will receive one-on-one support provided by our outreach staff. Increasing Meaningful Youth Involvement: We will effectively utilize our special consultative status with the United Nations to ensure that the drug policy reform movement is represented in General Assembly meetings and other related events. We will continue to facilitate active youth participation at critical conferences and events, such as the Drug Policy Alliance’s biennial Reform Conference. Creating Safe Spaces + Fostering Diversity: We will create a welcoming, open, and safe space for all stakeholders, including those that stand in conflict on other issues, and work to ensure that a wide range of perspectives are represented. We will actively seek out opportunities for collaboration with other organizations, including non-drug policy reform groups and those beyond our traditional allies. The Outreach, Recruitment and Diversity Committee will create and/or compile resources to assist chapters navigating diversity issues on their campuses, which staff will make accessible to chapters. We will also make every attempt to ensure that SSDP-sponsored events, including conferences, provide a non-threatening environment for all of our members and potential members and strive to provide recognition of all lived experiences. Relationship Building: We will also collaborate with groups from across the political spectrum and non-drug policy reform groups to spread our message of reform. Our staff will take advantage of opportunities to network with allies.


2013-2014 objectives

Amplifying Our Message: Through a partnership between SSDP and the music community (the AMPLIFY project), SSDP students will reach out at concerts and music festivals to recruit new supporters, provide on-site harm reduction, and spread message of drug policy reform. Speaking Truth to Power: A majority of our chapters will meet with an elected or appointed official concerning drug policy reform. Our students will be invited to provide oral or written testimony before local, state or federal legislative committees at least 15 times. Pushing the Policy Envelope: We will provide our membership with timely opportunities to take action on state and federal level legislation. Through our online action center, we will generate thousands of communications to government officials. Our staff will publish and maintain data on campus drug policies and Call 911 Good Samaritan policies to serve as expert resources on these issues. We will mentor and guide our students through the leadership pipeline and encourage them to volunteer or work for state-level drug policy reform campaigns. Saving Lives Through Harm Reduction: We will encourage students to educate their communities and campuses about harm reduction policies and services. Twenty-five percent of active chapters will work together with campus and community officials towards changing or enacting campus drug and alcohol policies, such as enacting Call 911 Good Samaritan policies. Educating Students: We will provide students with a rich menu of activities to undertake, including promoting harm reduction/overdose prevention practices, teaching students their constitutional rights, changing marijuana and other drug prohibition policies to be more sensible and less punitive, international drug policy, racial justice, civil rights, human rights and providing evidence-based drug education.

Highlighting Our Students + Their Work: The foundation, our chapters, and students will be positively highlighted in hundreds of media reports. Executing Strategic Interventions: The national staff will leverage high-level contacts within the White House and Congress to assist with legislative strategy, bill drafting, and opportunities for executive branch administrative action when compelling opportunities for change arise. Organizational Development

Bolstering Our Brand: We will present a strong, unified, and professional brand to the public. Our website will remain functional and content will be up to date. Our online presence will continue to grow, our Facebook likes will exceed 42,000. Our website will receive more than 145,000 unique visitors and 315,000 pageviews. Additionally, our total YouTube views will surpass 2 million, and Twitter followers will grow from 9,069 to over 12,000. Growing Our Capacity: We will increase our email supporters from 194,716 to over 210,000. Through our membership program, we will enroll more than 33 new monthly donors, resulting in at least $13,330 in total annual revenue. Additionally, online donations will increase from $39,055 (non-conference income) in 2012, to more than $50,000, through strategic fundraising drives including “back to school” and “graduation.” Major individual and foundation grants will increase 20% from $454,000 to $544,800. Each of our student and non-student board members will raise at least $1,000 per year. Board members will seek training in fundraising fundamentals. Our foundation will receive major donations for general operating support from two foundation grantors who have never given to SSDP before. We will aim to diversify our sources of funding so that no more than one third of our funding comes from any single source. Through careful monitoring of data, we will optimize our communication tactics to ensure more meaningful contact with our supporters. Empowering Young People: We will connect our students and alumni with opportunities for professional development, including employment with allied organizations. In an effort to show SSDP’s broad reach, we will stay engaged with our alumni and publicize a list of where they work.

Effective Management

Defining High-Quality Activists + Chapters: Overall, a majority of our chapters will be high-quality, meaning the chapter fulfills at least half of the following criteria: (1) recruits at least five students each semester; (2) proactively sends SSDP headquarters their chapter information, such as rosters, at least twice per semester; (3) recruits and trains at least two officers each semester; (4) hosts chapter meetings at least once per month, including at least one educational event per semester; (5) provides harm reduction training and information to their community; (6) conducts tabling outreach at least once per semester; (7) attends at least one SSDP national or regional event per year; (8) maintains an online network (such as a Facebook group) for the SSDP chapter; (9) effectively manages its affairs through communication and delegation; and (10) builds meaningful relationships with at least three other campus organizations and/or administrators. Managing to Change the World: We will be well managed. The board of directors will hold itself accountable for carrying out their responsibilities. Staff will feel appreciated and will be fairly compensated; salaries and benefits will be competitive with organizations of similar size and scope. Staff will be given regular and prompt feedback about their performance, both regarding what they do well and where they need to improve. Additionally, staff members performance will be formally reviewed each quarter. Expectations will be clearly set and understood and deadlines normally met. Staff will proactively communicate and respond promptly to the board. Staff will quantify organizational accomplishments. Conflicting priorities will be addressed and readjusted as needed. Staff will seek to improve their professional abilities and proactively seek new opportunities for growth. SSDP’s supporter data will be up to date on a weekly basis. We will provide a robust and meaningful internship experience, by ensuring interns have ownership over projects, regular feedback, and access to unique opportunities outside of the day-to-day functions of the organization. We will make every effort to capture and maintain institutional knowledge. Staying Sensible: Our organization will prioritize stability, ensuring that when expansion does occur, it is managed responsibly. Our staff will embody a culture of excellence that emphasizes going above and beyond to reflect the following core values: efficiency, transparency, humility, optimism, inclusiveness, light-heartedness, diligence, objectivity, and consistency.

2013-2014 objectives


Ways to Donate

Financial Statements

2012 Earnings

2012 Spending

26.2% Individual Contributions 6.1% Conferences & Events

$412,489 Check

63.9% Grants

Via Phone


Via Facebook

One-time, recurring, and membership donations are processed through SSDP’s website using your credit card information.

Via PayPal

One-time donations can be made in any amount. Recurring donations can be made in any amount & any frequency interval (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly).


Membership donations have fixed amounts & frequency intervals: Sensible Supporters donate $5.00 per month, Sensible Sustainers donate $10 per month, Sensible Sponsors donate $25 per month, Sensible Superstars donate $100 per month. Members of this program will receive donation premium items associated with their membership level.

Through Our Website


Sensible Membership One-time Donation


ways to donate

Recurring Donation

Facebook Causes allows you to make one-time and recurring donations. If you have ever used Facebook Causes to make a donation before, it will allow you to use your saved credit card information to quickly donate while logged in. This is the only method that allows for anonymous donations.

The processing fee that we incur is slightly higher than the processing fee for donating through our website.


3.8% Other

50.7% Salary, 8% Event + Conference, 9.5% Miscellaneous, 6.3% Travel & Ent, 6.1% Pass Thru, 6% Insurance, 4.7% Payroll Taxes, 4.5% Rent, 2.2% Professional Fees, 2% Scholarship

Annual Income 2005 to 2012 Earnings $516,806 $600,000

PayPal is a trusted name in payment processing and many people feel most comfortable using their secure system (Note: donations through our website are also secure). If you have used PayPal in the past, your payment information will be saved so that you would not need to enter it again when making your donation to us. The processing fee that we incur is slightly higher than the processing fee for donating through our website. Donations via check can only be received by mail to 1317 F Street NW, Suite 501 Washington, DC 20004. This is the only method for which we do not incur any processing fees. Donations via phone are processed using your credit card information through the same system that we use to take online donations. Call 202-393-5280 to make a donation via phone.


$410,005 $500,000





$273,216 $205,921


$200,000 $100,000









Partners + Allies American Civil Liberties Union American College of Emergency Physicians (individual delegates) AmfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research Americans for Safe Access Americans for Tax Reform ArcView Group California Medical Association (delegates) Campaign for America’s Future Canadian Drug Policy Coalition Caravan for Peace Center for American Progress

CATO Institute Center for Progressive Leadership Center for Strategic and International Studies Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform Congressional Sensible Drug Policy Working Group Cops Opposing Prohibition Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Drug Policy Alliance Electronic Frontier Foundation Face AIDS Families Against Mandatory Minimums Flex Your Rights

Innocence Project Institute for Humane Studies Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Liberty Coalition The Management Center Marijuana Majority Marijuana Policy Project Moms for Marijuana Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies National Advocates for Pregnant Women National Association for the Advancement of Colored People National Cannabis Industry Association

National Cannabis Coalition National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Open Society Foundations Protect Families First Reason Magazine SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) Sensible Colorado Students For Liberty The Constitution Project United Food and Commercial Workers United Nations General Assembly Economic and Social Council Vienna NGO Committee YouthRISE

financial information


Students for Sensible Drug Policy

1317 F Street NW, Suite 501 Washington, DC 20004 (202) 393-5280

Designed by Saul Fougnier

SSDP Annual Report 2012-2013  
SSDP Annual Report 2012-2013  

Students for Sensible Drug Policy's annual report includes our organization's activities, accomplishments, events, student profiles, financi...