On Wednesday, September 14th, supporters of Students for Sensible Drug Policy will meet at K Street Lounge to bring attention to legalizing marijuana and other drug laws they feel supports progressive mobility in the United States. The Honorable Jared Polis (D-CO), Peter Tosh’s daughter Niambe Tosh, and one of the cast members of HBO’s iconic program The Wire’s Tray ‘Poot’ Chaney are all expected to be in attendance.
Aaron Houston, SSDP executive director, said, “We want this event to spotlight our strong desire to see real progressive change in the District.”
Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a D.C. based non-profit advocacy and education organization, is fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies that directly harm students and youth.
SSDP supports the Good Samaritan Act (also known as Medical Amnesty Policies) are life-saving measures that enable people to make responsible decisions by shielding them from punishment when they call for medical help during an emergency relating to alcohol or other drugs.
“Calling for help shouldn’t be a crime,” said Ralph Collins, a Laurel, Maryland resident, “regardless of the situation.”
Maureen Holly, a Rockville resident, disagrees. “People shouldn’t get a get-out-of-jail-free pass if someone is overdosing with them while they are both doing drugs. It sends the wrong message.”
Supporters of the Good Samaritan’s Act in the District believe D.C. officials should look at the success of New Mexico’s state-wide 911 Good Samaritan Law. “New Mexico is the old timer in the game, and they’ve seen real changes in the state. It’s time to bring that positive attitude to D.C.,” remarked James Wilson, who’s a District resident, returning citizen and in recovery. “Closer to home, there have been changes in policies at the College of William & Mary. Those changes need to come to D.C. so lives can be saved.”
SSDP also supports Pell Grants for incarcerated youths.
“If a kid makes a mistake and go to jail, there should be something in place that helps them still continue their education, and go beyond a GED,” Collins said, “because we all know you need more than that to get by in this area.”
Education is the great equalizer for many people behind bars. Offering Pell Grants to youths while in prison could easily help someone achieve an Associates or Bachelor’s Degree.
The barriers that separate incarcerated youths and higher education opportunities have existed since the establishment of the Pell Grant. Presently, there are restrictions that restrict incarcerated youths from Pell Grant eligibility, but supporters believe if they were able to begin this higher educational journey from behind bars, it can serve as a motivator to seek an additional degree or continue to obtain one after incarceration.
Currently, The Fortune Society, and Education from the Inside Out Coalition backs legislation to eliminate the 1994 ban on Pell Grant eligibility.
To learn more about The Fortune Society, click HERE.
To learn more about Education from the Inside Out Coalition, click HERE. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy also have staff offices in San Francisco, CA, Ottawa, Ontario CANADA, and London, England; along with over 150 and chapters internationally.
The Legalize event will run from 6:00pm – 10:00pm. To purchase tickets check out their website: http://legalizeit.eventbrite.com/.