Freedom Fighter of the Month
April 2011 – Evan Nison
NORML New Jersey, Ithaca College SSDP, NY Patients First
By Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator
Like every month’s Freedom Fighter, this month’s activist has done an incredible amount of work to make marijuana legal. What’s remarkable is how much he has accomplished before he’s even legal to drink alcohol.
Evan Nison is turning 21 next month in East Brunswick, New Jersey. He is a junior at Ithaca College in New York and has been working for legalization not only in his East Coast home states, but across the country in California as well.
In New Jersey, Evan is the Ballot Initiatives Coordinator for NORML New Jersey. There he recruited a team of Rutgers students to try to put a “lowest law enforcement priority for marijuana” initiative on the ballot in their college town. Those students went on to form the Rutgers University Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) chapter.
In New York, Evan is president of Ithaca College’s SSDP, which earned recognition as the #1 drug law reform school in America. Their many accomplishments include passing a medical amnesty policy, which means students who call for or need medical attention for a drug or alcohol overdose will not be punished by school authorities for seeking help.
Evan also co-founded and directed NY Patients First (now NY Cannabis Alliance), which almost succeeded in passing medical marijuana in New York as part of the state budget before being thwarted by the governor. The group sponsored pro-cannabis billboards and held many press conferences at the statehouse in Albany.
If that weren’t enough, Evan took a semester off to be the Deputy Field Director and the Campus Organizer for the Yes on 19 legalization campaign In California. Evan built and maintained the field team in the Bay Area, Central Valley, and San Diego. Evan also ran the state wide campus outreach effort, which was organizing in over 40 schools.