This Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter interview on TWB will be with University of West Florida. Chapter representative Ethan Watters was kind enough to send over the following responses (TWB questions are in bold, above Ethan's responses):
How long has your Students for Sensible Drug Policy Chapter existed?
-Over a year and a half.
How many members does your Students for Sensible Drug Policy currently have?
-We have about ten active student members. We have 15 when you count our additional associate members.
What is your chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy doing to recruit new members?
-We are mentioning all of our Drug Policy related initiatives to bolster support: Medical Marijuana petitioning, Medical Amnesty for UWF students, and the Syringe Exchange initiative for the State of Florida. We also are trying to hold a debate on medical marijuana this semester to bring greater attention to the petition initiative.
What are the goals of your Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter for this academic year?
-Our goals are to network with other students dedicated to political activism, educate the public on the benefits of medical marijuna, and to distribute the 40,000 blank petitions we currently have in stock.
How would you describe the marijuana culture on your campus?
- I would describe it as fairly conservative. A lot of the students at UWF are there for the premium academic experience that the university provides. I would say that some of the students and faculty are very weary of the stigma supporting legalization come with and that they try to avoid it.
How would you describe the campus rules towards marijuana?
- Campus rules and information about marijuana are uninformed lack any scientific data to back up the claims made in the Student Code of Conduct.
If you could give advice to college students that are reading this interview, what would it be?
- Work hard tomake something that you truly believe in. If there is something you want changed, then work to change it. Paying tuition does not only mean that you should go to class and then stop there. Find an organization that adheres to your passion and then be someone that brings value to that organization.
What would be the benefits of legalizing marijuana?
- It could benefit many individuals with debilitating health conditions and it would reduce the amount of money tax payers pour into law enforcement and the judicial system every year.
What are the drawbacks of continuing marijuana prohibition?
- Growing incarceration and recidivism rates. Locking up nonviolent criminals with violent criminals. Over populated prisons.
How would marijuana legalization affect your chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy?
- Marijuana would be greatly accepted by our chapter of SSDP. We would help that this would only bring more members into our chapter to fight for the other Drug Policies that do not get the same attention. Syringe Exchange and Ending Mandatory Minimums would still need the support of our chapter after marijuana legalization.
Do you have any Students for Sensible Drug Policy events coming up in your area?
- Our next bi-weekly meeting will be held this week on November 7th at 7 PM in the UWF Commons. We will also be holding a Medical Marijuana debate December 3rd at 7 PM. We will be traveling to New Orleans, LA on December 14th for a Harm Reduction Conference.
How can readers support your chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy?
- You can leave us feedback at ssdpuwf.com or visit or Facebook page and like us at facebook.com/ssdpofuwf. Readers that are registered voters in Florida could also print out, sign, and send in the Medical Marijuana petition.
We could always use donations for SSDP International to help build support for our legalization efforts worldwide.