For twenty years, the folks at Students for Sensible Drug Policy have been at the forefront of the battle to end the War on Drugs and the destruction it has brought to society in the U.S. and beyond. In fact, SSDP has a presence at 300 schools around the world, which allows students from all walks of life an opportunity to make their voice heard when it comes to drug prohibition.
With marijuana law reform making headway at various levels of government in the U.S., I got a chance to speak with Hannah Procell, an Advocacy Fellow at SSDP, about federal cannabis law reform and more.
“We’re glad to see that justice-centered marijuana reform is becoming a growing priority, but marijuana prohibition should have never begun, so until it is abolished, we won’t be satisfied,” Hannah told The Marijuana Times. “Every day that Congress continues to procrastinate on this issue, the injustice of marijuana prohibition continues. Congress has an overdue obligation to end criminalization for marijuana crimes and embrace the job creation, tax revenue, and economic power created by a legal market.”
Unfortunately, with Congress moving slowly at this point, there is still a long way to go to get to federal legalization. “Elected officials have to know that constituents want the state-federal conflict resolved, and there are two ways to send that message,” Hannah said. “Right now, we should be calling Congress and meeting with staff in local offices to ask them to co-sponsor the MORE Act, which legalizes cannabis and begins to repair the harms of prohibition. Next, we must mobilize in support of reform-oriented candidates and ballot initiatives in 2020 so the 117th session of Congress begins with a mandate to pass the MORE Act or similarly comprehensive legislation.”
Along with all of the other ways SSDP fights marijuana prohibition, they also recently joined the Marijuana Justice Coalition, a group of anti-prohibition organizations that includes the ACLU, Center for American Progress, Center for Law and Social Policy, Drug Policy Alliance, Human Rights Watch, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, NORML and others.
“SSDP has been a part of the Marijuana Justice Coalition since its first meeting in August 2018 when participating organizations began creating a vision of what ideal cannabis legislation would accomplish and how we would get there,” Hannah told us. “While providing consultation to the bill drafters, we identified critical elements of restoring justice, zeroing in on the impacts prohibition has on individuals and communities. Such are the tenets of true reparative justice and marijuana policy reform: criminal justice reform and resentencing, immigrant protection, community reinvestment funds, and an achievable framework for meaningful equity programs. SSDP is proud to stand with the Marijuana Justice Coalition.”
There is still a long way to go to end cannabis prohibition; luckily, we have groups like Students for Sensible Drug Policy leading the fight.