Executive Shuffle at SSDP: Aldworth, Wallis Depart

From left: Betty Aldworth and Stacia Wallis at the SSDP Conference in 2016. (Image via

On July 1, SSDP's top two managers - executive director Betty Aldworth and deputy director Stacia Wallis - announced they were leaving the drug-policy organization.

"In light of the ongoing health pandemic and accompanying economic recession, SSDP must reduce staff and prepare for significant budget cuts for the foreseeable future," the advocacy group stated. "While expenses have been cut in many areas of the budget, SSDP has always been an exceptionally lean organization and there are few areas in which savings can be realized. By reducing staff and preparing for significant budget cuts for the foreseeable future, we can build reserves in the likely event of extended recession or depression."

The deputy director position will be eliminated and Aldworth will stay on in a limited interim capacity as the search for a new director takes place.

Aldworth joined the organization in 2014. She'd previously worked on the Prop 64 legalization campaign in Colorado. According to SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy):

"During her tenure, Betty supported expansion of SSDP from presence in four countries to 34. She led efforts to develop more clear pathways for member influence over organizational priorities; established integrative management practices; effectively quadrupled SSDP’s annual budget through innovative, values-centered fundraising; and facilitated monumental increases in participation and leadership from women and non-binary members, BIPOC, those who speak openly about their current or past stigmatized drug use and others who have been directly impacted by drug war enforcement."

Read Betty Aldworth's It's Time for Prohibition to Retire

Wallis (formerly Cosner) came from within the ranks, starting her SSDP career at the University of Maryland in 2005. "She served in every role at SSDP, including interim executive director in 2013," SSDP noted. "As an outreach coordinator, Stacia developed and implemented systems to provide better support to members, mentoring countless students through campaigns and community organizing while developing tracking and reporting systems that remain integral to our ability to communicate our stories to donors and the SSDP family.

"When she became deputy director, Stacia additionally became responsible for management of all human resources implementation and organizational administration, both of which grew tremendously in difficulty and complexity as the organization grew. She managed nine national and international conferences, provided dozens of training sessions, developed the chapter-alumni mentorship program and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Through each transition, Stacia maintained a steadfast dedication to SSDP’s grassroots nature, a deep commitment to lifting voices too often unheard and integrity matched only by her dedication to good fun."

Indeed, Wallis also played for the DC drug-policy softball team, the One Hitters.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.