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Soiree in the City: SSDP Takes Manhattan

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) came to New York last night to spread their message and raise some funds. It took place at Gallery 151 in Manhattan.


By Steve Bloom, Editor in Chief at Freedom Leaf Magazine

Surrounded by paintings created by members of the Prison Arts Coalition, New York’s marijuana cognoscenti gathered on a rainy night to show support for the student-based organization with chapters all over the country and a national office in Washington, DC.

Executive director Betty Aldworth welcomed the crowd, which sipped wine, munched on snacks

and occasionally stepped outside for a puff. «Sixteen years ago our founders never might have imagined that we would be where we are today,» she said proudly. «Rest assured that SSDP has never been in a better position to leverage the student voice for real and lasting change. We’re laying foundations that are going to serve us organizationally, and therefore serve our students, and therefore help to end the drug war that are going to be extraordinary. There’s no organization that’s doing better work in terms of shaping the future of drug-policy reform than SSDP.» bettyssdpnyc

Like any good fundraiser, the program featured some entertainment. Comic John Fuselgang, a regular at SDDP functions, joked that «Willie Nelson doesn’t have a marijuana problem, he has a marijuana practice. Willie’s 81 now. I hope somebody warned him that pot is the gateway to heroin before it’s too late. Of course, you know that pot is not the gateway to heroin. It’s the gateway to nachos.» Ina bit about the country’s early history, Fugelsang explained, «Hemp is as American as apple pie. In the colonies, everyone knew if you smoked the flowering top part of the plant. you would want to eat apple pie.» He finished with this zinger: «Legal cannabis at this point is 400 times more popular than Congress.»

Gallery manager Matt Namer played sets of acoustic cover songs before and after the speech and comedy.

Attendees included Dana Beal, Doug Greene, Kelly Crosson, Jason Pinsky, Jeanne Van Duzer Lang, Alan Silber and Laramie Silber.

Freedom Leaf was proud to be on the host committee for this event, along with the ArcView Group, Ideal 420 Soil and Dr. Andrew Tartarsky & the Center for Optimal Living.