Students for Sensible Drug Policy today announces Jason Ortiz, a long-standing alumnus who first became involved with SSDP in 2008, has been selected to serve as Executive Director.
“To have the opportunity to lead the organization that has been such a huge part of who I am today is both an honor and a dream come true”, said Ortiz, who joined SSDP at the University of Connecticut and graduated with a degree in Public and Community Engagement. “The world is ready for a new approach to drug policy and SSDP will be the organization to train the next generation of movement leaders, policy makers and entrepreneurs.”
In addition to being a longstanding alumnus, Jason has been on the frontlines of the cannabis equity movement. Jason is a founder and President of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, where he led efforts to create model cannabis equity policies at the state and municipal levels.
While he comes with extensive drug policy expertise, Jason has experience organizing on numerous issues including his role as Director of Campaigns with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, where he worked to end capital punishment. He also served on the National Puerto Rican Agenda, where helped with Hurricane Maria relief efforts and continues to address issues of economic justice for his island.
Professionally, Ortiz has led over a dozen races for elected office as campaign manager and political consultant, and served as Executive Assistant to Minority Leader Wildaliz Bermudez of the Hartford Connecticut Court of Common Council, the city where he now resides.
SSDP extends gratitude to Rachel Wissner and Luis Montoya for serving as Interim Co-Executive Directors throughout the transition and making the transition seamless. Rachel and Luis will retain their roles as Director of Development and Communications and Programs Director, respectively.
“We are thrilled to have Jason Ortiz join us as Executive Director,” said Rachel Wissner. His bold leadership, drug policy expertise, wisdom of over a decade in the movement, and deep connection to the SSDP community makes him an excellent fit for Executive Director.”
“It is a proud day to see another Latinx member of our movement take a leadership role in ending the global War on Drugs that has particularly harmed Latinx communities throughout the Americas,” said Oriana Mayorga, Board Director of SSDP. “I am inspired and encouraged that SSDP will be centering Latinx struggles as we grow into a truly global organization.”