Kent State hosts drug summit

Nick Glunt

Kent State Students for Sensible Drug Policy is hosting the 2010 Ohio SSDP Strategy Summit tomorrow, in an attempt to reform and to raise awareness about Ohio drug laws. Topics for the summit are knowing one’s rights, hemp and medical marijuana, SSDP president Chris Wallis said.

“It’s really informal,” Wallis said, “and that’s really the way I wanted it to be.”

The organization is concerned with the effect drug abuse has on communities, but it is fighting against the War on Drugs, according to the SSDP Web site. Members believe the War on Drugs is doing more harm than good.

According to a fact sheet by SSDP, the federal government has wasted over $1.5 billion on “anti-drug propaganda.” It goes on to say federally funded research has indicated National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign ads actually cause more teen drug use. However, Congress continues to support the campaign.

Wallis received an e-mail from SSDP National about six months ago suggesting a strategy summit.

SSDP member Mike Lucas has attended several SSDP events. He is looking forward to seeing what the other chapters are doing.

“Most kids who try to get into politics feel like it doesn’t really affect them at all,” Lucas said, “but this is something that’s affecting all of us.”

SSDP recently pushed for a Good Samaritan policy at Kent State. The policy allows a sort of immunity toward laws prohibiting illegal drugs or underage drinking in the case of a medical emergency.

“It’s actually been used several times already,” Wallis said. “Last semester, it saved some kids’ lives. So we’re really glad that’s working. We just need to tell people about it.”

The Good Samaritan policy will be spoken about at the summit, Wallis said. Students from SSDP chapters at Miami University, University of Toledo, Ohio University and Hiram University are set to attend as well. Overall, there should be about 35 people attending, Wallis said, plus anyone else who shows up.

Cher Neufer, founder and treasurer of the North Ohio National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, will also be attending the summit and is scheduled to speak on such topics.

After Neufer was charged with a felony for growing marijuana, she formed the branch in northern Ohio. She said she could have been charged with a misdemeanor had she known the laws she knows now. Since then, she has spoken at many venues about what she has learned about Ohio drug laws.

NORML has played a part in introducing a bill to Congress that would legalize the growth of hemp for industrial use and the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Ohio, Wallis said. Hemp is marijuana, but with very small levels of THC, the chemical that causes the effects of marijuana.