Since January 2006, Kris Krane has served as SSDP's executive director. Tom Angell is government relations director, Micah Daigle is field director, Amber Langston is outreach director, and Morgan Lesko is webmaster.
SSDP functions through chapters in U.S. and Canadian high schools and colleges promoting student and teacher activism for sensible change in attitudes towards drug use and drug abuse, and drug policies. As of November 2006, there are over 110 chapters in the United States and Canada.
Mission Statement: "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."
Values Statement: "Students for Sensible Drug Policy neither encourages nor condemns drug use. Rather, we seek to reduce the harms caused by drug abuse and drug policies. As young people, we strive toward a just and compassionate society where drug abuse is treated as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. We recognize that the very real harms of drug abuse are not adequately addressed by current policies and we advocate measures that would effectively help those who develop drug problems. Yet, we also believe that individuals must ultimately be allowed to make decisions for themselves as long as their actions do not infringe upon anyone else’s freedoms or safety.
Because the War on Drugs has historically been justified as necessary to protect youth, it is our responsibility as young people to stop this harmful war from being waged in our names any longer. As scholars, we seek solutions to society's drug problems through focused research, honest dialogue, and informed debate, instead of unquestioned extremism, punishment, and propaganda."
Structure as a Grassroots Organization: SSDP comprises student chapters all across the country. Any student anywhere can start a chapter. While SSDP has a variety of national campaigns and actions that everyone can participate in, chapters are also encouraged to work on those issues that have the most traction in their own communities. Annually SSDPers convene for a national conference. There, students acquire essential activist knowledge and skills. Also, chapters elect students to serve on SSDP's Board of Directors. The Board in turn selects SSDP's executive director, who is responsible for tending to both the day-to-day operations of the organization, as well as its long-term direction. An important duty of the executive director is to hire staff. Currently, besides an executive director, SSDP has a campaigns director, a field director, a legislative director, a publications coordinator, and a webmaster. Ultimately, the SSDP staff exists to serve SSDP's chapters and activists.
Legally, SSDP consists of two separate, distinct entities — Students for Sensible Drug Policy Foundation and Students for Sensible Drug Policy Inc. The former, as a 501(c)3 organization, engages in education and outreach. Donations to SSDP Foundation are tax-deductible. SSDP Inc, as a 501(c)4 organization, engages in advocacy, or attempts to effect change to law and policy. Accordingly, donations to SSDP Inc are not tax-deductible.
In addition to working on issues that primarily affect students, many of SSDP's chapters work on local and state-level campaigns such as marijuana deprioritization, reinstating voting rights to felons, and medical marijuana. Chapters are also known to hold day-long festivals to promote their cause on campus, with varying results.
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