Sunday, February 6, 2011

SSDP at CPAC 2011

Hey readers, hope your year is going well. I haven’t posted on this blog before, so here goes.

This week KSU SSDP as well as members from many different chapters will converge onto the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC. Here we will be voting in a straw poll for Gov. Gary Johnson. Gov. Johnson has been a strong voice in the movement for reforming current drug policies. In 1999 during his second term as Governor of New Mexico, Johnson took a strong stance on marijuana legalization, and has said that the other illegal drugs should be treated from a health issue instead of a legal one. He has been quoted as saying "I came to the conclusion that 90 percent of the problem was prohibition related” when talking about his stances on the drug war issue, with Myrtle Beach Tea Partiers (see link at bottom). His stances on this issue have even garnered the support of famous republican figures such as William F. Buckley.

Should this man become president, I believe that he would take America out of the downtrodden economy that we have now. For proof, I present his only held elected position. When he came into the gubernatorial position in New Mexico the state was suffering from a yearly budget increase of 10%. Through his policies and his strong use of veto power, Johnson cut this increase out and in fact left the New Mexican Economy with a large surplus. His economic policies are driven by his business minded approach, which stems from his years in college where he would make money by being a door to door handyman. That business grew and became a multimillion dollar business and provided him with the capital to be elected in the first place. He has since sold that business and is concentrating on activism; Sitting on the advisory board for our own SSDP and also Students for Liberty, a student political organization. He has also started his own 501(c) (4) committee called Our America Initiative ( whose mission statement reads “OUR America Initiative seeks to broaden the parameters of the public policy debate of current topics in the national arena. We look to enlighten the population about civil liberties, free enterprise, limited government, and traditional American values. It is our aim to increase the amount of discussion and involvement regarding all-important issues.”

On other Issues, Johnson pushed to give school vouchers to all K-12 students in New Mexico, in order to allow them to go to school where they and their parents wished. He attempted this twice during his second term, but was unsuccessful in pushing it through the democratically controlled congress of the time. (See link at bottom)

Read more:

Dave Goldshtein is a member of Kent State SSDP

Monday, January 24, 2011

Food for Thought

The following blog written by KSUSSDP member Steve Larson:

Food for thought…hmmm maybe just fees please

Fresh foods are a great way to bring your mind and body to a healthier state, but sometimes their cost keeps those who need them the most from enjoying their benefits. So let’s say you take matters into your own hands and grow your own vegetables in your house to supply your family with a healthy substitute to the heavily processed chemical-laden foods that are sold in super markets. Seems like a good idea, but what if you were fined thousands of dollars because the municipal inspectors thought you were growing marijuana instead? Sounds like something that can only happen in a bad dream, right? Wrong. Len Gratto of Missions, British Colombia is one of the many citizens who have been fined $5,200 or even up to $10,000 in fees and repair orders for not growing marijuana. All Gratto did was grow cucumbers in his basement.

These marijuana grow-op searches, which are sometimes done illegally, are made possible through Grow-op bylaw programs that allow municipal inspectors to enter homes with abnormally high hydro usage — about 93 kilowatts per day or more — and look for evidence of illegal marijuana grow-ops for public safety reasons. The sad part of about this is that the evidence they find does not necessarily mean the household is or has grown marijuana. For instance, Gratto stated “the ‘laughable’ evidence against him consists of pictures of some ‘dirt’ on the basement wall and ‘a furnace pipe going up into the chimney, where it should be.’” This is just outrageous. I am pretty sure that dirt does not equal marijuana. There are many people that bring inside potted plants that cannot survive the winter or grow vegetables and cooking herbs indoors, all of which I will reiterate are not marijuana. Thankfully, Gratto, among many others, is not going to let his rights be abused like this and is willing to start an "imminent class action" law suit against Mission.

From 2008 to 2010, there were 362 Public Saftey Inspection Team searches of which 275 of them were given the fees of $5,200! Councilor Jenny Stevens of Missions, who initially supported this program, believes that around half of these homeowners were innocent. She says, “My biggest worry is about 50 per cent of these people were subjected to embarrassment and innuendo. I’m very concerned about the threat of litigation.”

These laws do not just embarrass and damage the reputation of the town citizens, but can even lead them to the usage of prescription drugs. For instance, in another innocent victim’s case in which Drew Smith said that he had to get sedatives because he couldn’t sleep at night with the stress and embarrassment in the neighborhood. Thank you drug laws for ruining even more innocent lives, as if the drug cartel violence in Mexico and overcrowded prisons in the US were not enough.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Former President Vicente Fox Urges Mexico to Legalize Drugs

Vicente Fox, Mexican president from 2000-2006, has been advocating for Mexico to legalize all drugs in order to curb the absolutely disgusting amount of drug related violence in his country.

Fox, who was once a strong proponent of the drug war, now acknowledges that the prohibitionist model does not work. He cites the loss of tourism, of talented and professional people over the border to the United States, and the state of fear as costs too great to bear.

The death toll topped 12000 in 2010 and intense conflict continues as the cartels vie for power.

" is not only in people's income, in investment, but also in the collective psychology. There is fear in the country. And when you have an environment where there is no harmony, no peace and tranquility then no human being can make the best of themselves."

-Vicente Fox

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santa Fe Police Raid School Greenhouse: Find Tomatoes

The war on drugs strikes again, this time at the Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm in Santa Fe County, New Mexico.

On September 21 a low flying unmarked helicopter surveyed the school's property for 15 minutes, so low that the students could see gun barrels on its outside. These students were just innocently eating outside while this was happening, not to mention that the students’ ages ranged from 11 to 14. As the helicopter disappeared a state police van arrived accompanied by a few other vehicles in the driveway of the school.

From the vehicles appeared four unmarked men wearing bulletproof vests wanting to inspect the schools greenhouses and did they find the marijuana that they were looking for? Of course not, all that was growing in the greenhouse were tomato plants.

This was a part of a number raids ran by the Region III Narcotics Task Force in Santa Fe County, of which only one was proven to be fruitful. They found a whopping 35 plants after 10 hours of surveillance, such an efficient use of time and tax payer dollars. These raids are not making local residents very happy either. They are saying that the helicopters are scaring livestock, disturbing the peace in the rural areas and resulting in invasions of private property without search warrants.

It is hard for me to believe that these raids are making the community safer if they are just angering its residents, invading their privacy and as Patricia Pantano, education director of the Camino de Paz Montessori School and Farm states "we're sitting here as a teaching staff, always short on money, and we're thinking, 'Gosh, all the money it takes to fly that helicopter and hire all those people, it would be great to have this for education. "

Steve Larson is a member of KSU SSDP

Friday, October 8, 2010

Conference time!

Hey everyone!

A few quick updates from Kent State SSDP about the midwest conference we'll be hosting on November 13-14.

First off...we got funding!!! KSUSSDP wishes to thank Greg Jarvie, Dean of Students at KSU for his assistance throughout this whole process. This conference would not be at all possible without his hard work!

Secondly, registration for the conference is now open! Go to: to sign up!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Student Movement to End the War on Drugs, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Fight the Drug War.

I was surfing youtube the other day when I stumbled across the above video and it really got me to thinking. I've been a member of Kent State Students for Sensible Drug Policy for a little over a year now, and I think it's time to take a step back and look at all of the things we as a chapter and I personally have experienced in this past year.

When I first joined SSDP, it was my first full week of classes as a new transfer at Kent State. I had heard about SSDP before my time at KSU, however, I had never participated in, or thought much about the organization. I walked into the meeting room in the student center, and to my surprise, it was packed with students that were like-minded to me.

Chris Wallis (former president of the KSU chapter), I think, was also surprised at the size of the group, considering they had only started the chapter a semester before with a total membership of 3 people. The professionalism in which Chris handled the meeting and articulated the chapter and organizational victories was remarkable.

Kent State SSDP in the year prior to my joining passed a Good Samaritan Policy, which has already saved multiple lives on campus, giving students the peace of mind and security to not be afraid to call for medical attention. The chapter also brought a large showing to the Midwest conference.

I was hooked on SSDP from the start.

However, when I joined SSDP I thought I was in for an hour long meeting every week to talk about drug policy activism and leave it at that. I couldn't have been more wrong. SSDP introduced me to my best (and sure to be lifelong) friends. Being responsible for the going-ons in SSDP (as every member somewhat is) has also helped me become a more responsible and mature adult.

And then there was San Francisco. SSDP's International Conference was held in San Francisco, California on March 12-14, 2010. It was there that my life was totally and completely changed. Meeting like-minded individuals from across the nation and world was a truly incredible experience. San Fran also allowed for my chapter to bond and solidify the lifelong friendships we had been tending the semester before. Nothing helped us more to bond than earning the Chapter of the Year award from SSDP national. It was a moment that none of us will ever forget, I'm sure of that.

Waiting in the airport for my plane out of San Francisco and back to Kent was one of the major turning points in my life. I knew that I had made great friends and. learned about nearly every facet of drug policy. And it was through that experience, I am the person I am today.

This year, the dynamics of drug policy and SSDP have begun to change. SSDP national has a new Executive Director and has experienced some changes in staffing. KSUSSDP has a new set of officers, led by Tom Zocolo and a multitude of new faces are showing up every meeting. Drug policy reformers around the nation are working hard on initiatives to bring a greater sense of fairness, sensibility and justice to our nation's drug policy. What a year to look forward to!

Now as I sit in bed, sick at 2 in the morning, I realize how much I've changed. I look at all the friends I've made and the impact we've made on our university and on the world. The future is in our hands SSDPers, now let's change the world even more!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Magic mushrooms ingredient may ease end of life anxiety

'Magic mushrooms' ingredient may ease end-of-life anxiety

By Anne Harding,
September 7, 2010 -- Updated 0047 GMT (0847 HKT)

A new study shows that psilocybin, the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms," may help terminally ill cancer patients get some relief from anxiety.
  • Terminally ill cancer patients may get some relief from a guided "trip" on the drug psilocybin
  • One to three months after taking psilocybin, patients reported feeling less anxious
  • Patients said their experience gave them a new perspective on their illness

( -- Terminally ill cancer patients struggling with anxiety may get some relief from a guided "trip" on the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin, a new study suggests.

The study included 12 patients who took a small dose of psilocybin -- the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms" -- while under the supervision of trained therapists. In a separate session, the participants took a placebo pill, which had little effect on their symptoms.

By contrast, one to three months after taking psilocybin the patients reported feeling less anxious and their overall mood had improved. By the six-month mark, the group's average score on a common scale used to measure depression had declined by 30 percent, according to the study, which was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Can psychedelic drugs treat depression?

In follow-up interviews with the researchers, some patients said their experience with psilocybin gave them a new perspective on their illness and brought them closer to family and friends.

"We were pleased with the results," says the lead researcher, Charles Grob, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, in Torrance, Calif.

Notably, the psilocybin did not aggravate the patients' anxiety or provoke any other unwanted effects besides a slight increase in blood pressure and heart rate. 7 types of therapy that can help depression

Grob's findings are "important because he's showing that you can administer these compounds safely to cancer patients with anxiety," says Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

"They're not substances that should be used recreationally or casually, but nonetheless it appears that we can conduct research with these compounds safely," adds Griffiths, who was not involved in the study but has researched the therapeutic effects of psilocybin. (He and his colleagues are currently enrolling patients in a similar study that will use larger doses of the drug.)

Researchers investigating the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and other hallucinogens have been keen to demonstrate the safety of the drugs in clinical settings. Supplements for depression: what works

Psychiatrists and psychologists began exploring the effects of hallucinogens on the mood and anxiety of dying patients in the 1950s, but the research stopped abruptly when psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and other mind-altering drugs were outlawed in the 1970s.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a handful of small studies involving hallucinogens since the 1990s, but the field is still emerging.

Grob's study is the first of its kind in more than 35 years. It was funded by private foundations and the Heffter Research Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that has been a major sponsor of the second-generation hallucinogen research.

The patients in the study were all close to death (10 of the 12 have since died), and they had all diagnoses of anxiety or acute stress relating to their prognosis.

"We were really looking for people who were really struggling with the predicament that they found themselves in," Grob explains. What an anxiety disorder feels like

During the psilocybin sessions, which lasted six hours, the patients lay on a couch and listened to music through headphones.

Although they spoke only briefly to the therapists while under the influence of the drug, they continued to meet periodically with the research staff for six months to discuss their experience and to fill out questionnaires assessing their mood and anxiety levels.

"I think we've established good grounds for continuing the research," Grob says. "That's the goal right now, just to develop more studies."