If you are an incoming freshman or transfer student, welcome to the University of Rhode Island! If not, welcome back for another year!
I’m Eric Casey, president of the URI chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. SSDP is a grassroots organization with hundreds of chapters at universities around the world, dedicated to ending the so-called “War on Drugs” and advocating for sensible drug laws that treat drug use as a public heath issue, and not a criminal justice issue. Some of the causes we believe in include:
- Legalizing cannabis at the state and federal levels.
- Protecting Rhode Island’s medical marijuana system from federal interference.
- Encouraging campus policies that do not unjustly punish a student for minor drug possession violations.
- Lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 years of age.
- Protecting students from losing financial aid due to a drug possession arrest.
- Policies that treat drug addiction as a disease, not a crime, as well as policies that distinguish between addictive drug use and recreational drug use.
- Implementing good samaritan policies, which allow students to report drug/alcohol overdoses without disciplinary repercussions.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a great way to meet like-minded peers, have fun, learn critical career skills and to make a positive difference in the world. In the two years I’ve been apart of URI SSDP, I’ve been presented with some amazing opportunities to travel to different drug policy reform related events, often with financial assistance from URI. Some of our past endeavors have included:
- Traveling to the yearly regional and national SSDP conferences. (This year’s regional conference is at Brown University in Providence!)
- Going to the International Drug Policy Reform conference in Los Angeles, where our members took tours of medical marijuana facilities and urban areas heavily impacted by the drug war, as well as participating in panels with leading experts in the drug policy reform movement.
- Attending the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary elections with other university’s chapter members, in order to get the drug policy related views of the leading candidates for president on record.
- Going to Washington D.C. to advocate the importance of drug law reform at political conferences such as CPAC.
- Traveling to the United Nations with other chapter’s members for a debate regarding drugs and crime and their impact on economic and social development.
Our meetings this year will be on Thursdays from 6pm-7pm in the Senate Chambers, 3rd floor of Memorial Union. Our first meeting will be next week (Sept. 13th). All are welcome! Topics will include an introduction to SSDP and the drug law reform movement, discussing plans for the regional conference as well as our upcoming trip to the Boston Freedom Rally, making preliminary plans for URI Hempfest, a discussion of the recent success of the marijuana legalization movement, and much more.
If you can’t attend our meetings but still want to be in the loop, or If you just want more information about our organization, check out these sites. Especially our facebook and twitter pages so you can stay informed about meeting times and other on-campus events :
- URI SSDP facebook page
- URI SSDP tumblr page
- URI SSDP twitter page
- National SSDP facebook page
Even if you don’t decide to attend our meetings, if you are ever working on a school project involving drug use, or If you have any questions at all regarding drug policy reform as well as campus, state or federal drug laws, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll probably know someone who does.
We have big plans for this school year and hope that you’ll be apart of them. Thanks and hope to see you soon!