Students for Sensible Drug Policy head to D.C.

Caitlin Restelli

Kent State’s Students for Sensible Drug Policy organization, a political awareness group, will attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. Thursday through Saturday.

“Basically we’re asking drug policy questions, and we are voting for Gary Johnson in the straw polls,” said Tom Zocolo, a SSDP member attending the conference.

Straw polls are used to gauge opinion and raise awareness about candidates.

According to its website, CPAC is an annual event that brings together about 10,000 participants from conservative organizations as well as conservative speakers from across the country.

Gary Johnson, former New Mexico Governor, is providing funds so the group can attend the conference. His campaign goal is to become Republican nominee for the 2012 presidential election.

Zocolo, junior exploratory major, said SSDP tries “to make this (drug) focus more of a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue.”

He said Johnson contacted the national SSDP organization. From there, the national organization contacted the Kent State group and planned everything for the students.

Johnson is providing attendance funds for up to 200 SSDP members. Five members from Kent State’s chapter will be attending.

“It’s not lobbying exactly because we’re not sitting down with congress people in a formal-like lobby setting,” Zocolo said. “We’re just going to be attending different discussion panels.”

Zocolo is the former president of Kent State’s SSDP and still participates in the group.

“It allows me to feel like I’m working toward something that is for the betterment of society,” Zocolo said.

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected]