Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Increase in Teen Marijuana Use Due to Failed Policies (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2010
CONTACT:  Jonathan Perri, SSDP National Associate Director – (401) 265-9445

Increase in Teen Marijuana Use Due to Failed Policies, 

Not Medical Marijuana

More High School Seniors Now Smoking Marijuana 

than Cigarettes, According to Survey

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Officials at Students for Sensible Drug Policy claim that a new survey by the University of Michigan showing the highest rates of marijuana use among young high school seniors in the last three decades is the direct result of the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.  Over 20% of high school seniors reported smoking marijuana compared with only 19% reporting smoking cigarettes.  

“Because marijuana is available on the black market, high school students have easier access to it than they do to cigarettes,” explained Jonathan Perri, Associate Director at SSDP. “Drug dealers aren’t going to ask for an ID before they sell drugs. If marijuana were regulated and taxed like alcohol or cigarettes, it would be more difficult for young people to purchase.”

At a press conference in Washington this week, the White House drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, blamed the increase on the debate surrounding marijuana legalization and state medical marijuana laws around the country.

“If the drug use numbers go down even slightly, the ONDCP takes credit for it, but when they go up, they don’t want to reassess their own failed policies. There is no evidence that medical marijuana laws have resulted in a national increase in use among high school seniors - if anything, young people no longer believe the reefer madness that the federal government has been spreading about marijuana for years," said Perri.

The group argues that regulating marijuana like cigarettes would be more effective at reducing use. “Tobacco use has become unattractive to young people through prevention education and by keeping the drug in a legal but regulated market with heavy taxes imposed,” continued Perri. “It’s time to do the same with marijuana.”

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.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Chapter Leader of the Week: Drew Stromberg, WVU

Chapter Leader of the Week


  • Drew Stromberg
  • Founder and President
  • West Virginia University SSDP
SSDP: When did you 1st get involved with SSDP?
Drew: I got involved during in the summer of 2009 when a friend of mine told me I should start a chapter at WVU.

SSDP: What issues are important for your chapter?
Drew: Good Samaritan Policy - We started working on ours last year and we are slowly but surely moving ever closer to it becoming a real university policy. (bureaucracy is designed to discourage you. Don’t let it.)

Drug education - We are working with WVU’s Senior Wellness Coordinator to incorporate drug education into the University 101 curriculum. The current program does include alcohol education fortunately. At this point in the process, we’re looking for universities with good drug education programs already in place. Do you have an open, comprehensive, and science-based program at your school? If you do, get in touch with me!

SSDP: Do you have any events planned for the this semester?
Drew: We hope to host an art show fundraiser in February. And of course we wouldn’t miss the National Training Conference in Washington, DC! Mountaineers en mass on the mall in March!

SSDP: What do you like best about being part of SSDP?
Drew: The work that we do is important and the changes we make are real. We’re shaping our world into a more sensible form.

SSDP: Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
Drew: As part of my technology internship with SSDP this semester, I've been working on our chapter's website, and developing the SSDP Tech Tips group on Facebook, so use these and me as a resource for improving your chapter's online presence.

Also, taking your chapter to a conference is the fastest way to turn regular members into drug policy reform samurai warriors.

NIU SSDP Earns Recognition on Campus, Free Speech Violations Still Present

After SSDP's chapter at Northern Illinois University was denied recognition as an official group on campus and told that they could not apply for funding, hold meetings on campus or even post flyers promoting events or causes, they took action to protect student free speech. It wasn't an easy battle, but SSDP prevailed and have been given full recognition by NIU

Northern Illinois University (NIU) has finally given full recognition to NIU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) after the Student Association Senate twice denied the group any recognition, which had prevented SSDP from meeting or posting flyers on campus. But Senate policy still denies funding to all "political" and "religious" student organizations. This arbitrary standard classifies Christian, Muslim, and Jewish organizations as "religious" and therefore ineligible for funding, while the campus Baha'i Club is funded as a "cultural" group. Similarly, groups such as Model United Nations are considered "political" while many "social justice" or "advocacy" groupsincluding student pro-life, pro-choice, antiwar, women's rights, vegetarian, and victims' rights groupsare fully recognized. SSDP came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
"FIRE commends Northern Illinois University for finally agreeing to recognize Students for Sensible Drug Policy, but NIU's recognition and funding policies still violate students' First Amendment rights," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "NIU's rules brazenly flout Supreme Court precedent by discriminating against all ‘political' and ‘religious' groups. NIU needs to reform its policies to ones that do not invite such extensive double standards, confusion, and abuse."
SSDP would like to thank the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and our board member Eric Sterling for the essential assistance and guidance they provided to the NIU SSDP chapter.
We also recognize that the situation at NIU is not over. SSDP was instrumental in drawing attention to the unconstitutional policies being unfairly imposed on student groups by the NIU Student Senate and we hope to see those policies changed immediately so that no student group will be discriminated against  based on the nature of what they discuss or promote.