The Role Of Cannabis Tax Income In Battling Racial Injustices

The Role Of Cannabis Tax Income In Battling Racial Injustices

Nationwide protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd have reignited a public dispute over cops brutality in this nation. Along with require cops reform have emerged other demands, needs of defunding the police.

The call to defund the cops is, obviously, a monetary issue, however it is also about developing positive police alternatives. It is a call to reinvest in communities and check out brand-new and more fair services.

This is specifically what the City Council of Portland, Oregon, attempted to communicate last Thursday, when it approved an amendment to a proposed spending plan that would divest roughly $27 million from marijuana tax earnings funds from the city’s authorities department to programs focusing on corrective justice efforts.

Back in 2016, Portland passed Recreational Marijuana Sales Step 26-180, a procedure that allocated marijuana tax dollars to substance abuse treatment, public security, and small company advancement, a 2019 report from the Portland City Auditor exposed that 46 percent of cannabis tax revenue has gone straight to the Portland Cops Bureau.

This misallocation of cannabis tax profits is paradoxical in that the cash is funding the very institution that has actually disproportionately targeted neighborhoods of color– particularly black and brown men– in the enforcement of cannabis laws.

Given That the 1970 s, enforcement of marijuana ownership laws has been carried out with staggering racial predisposition. According to a 2013 report published by the American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU), nearly half of all drug arrests made in 2010 were for cannabis ownership. Although marijuana use was roughly the very same among blacks and whites, blacks were almost 4 times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession.

As Jason Ortiz, President of the Minority Marijuana Service Association (MCBA) and an authorities accountability activist, stated in a recent news release, “[t] his [misallocation of marijuana tax revenue] is not just an Oregon issue, this is a national disgrace.” Ortiz discussed that the MCBA anticipates jurisdictions across the United States to follow Portland’s lead and motivated all nationwide cannabis justice advocates to investigate their local finances and regional marijuana company investments to identify if and how marijuana tax profits intended for neighborhood uplift are in truth allocated.

Undoubtedly, the appropriate allotment of marijuana tax income belongs to the national problem of cannabis reform. Throughout the United States, discussions have actually been taking place relating to the relationship between cannabis restriction and racial injustice.

According to Cannabis Minute, Representatives Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif., just recently circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter that prompted their fellow lawmakers to think about federal marijuana reform to further promote racial justice as they dispute policing reform legislation.

Last month, your house of Representatives introduced a resolution condemning police brutality and racial profiling and calling for the adoption of “sound and objective police policies that would minimize diverse impact of cops brutality and use of force on Black and Brown people and other traditionally marginalized neighborhoods” that stem, in part, from the War on Drugs.

States have actually also been singing about the function of cannabis reform in battling racial oppressions.

Throughout a recent press conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted California’s legalizing of recreational cannabis as a “civil liberties” issue. This statement was echoed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who mentioned that the enactment of cannabis decriminalization legislation in May was planned to reform criminal justice and address racial inequalities.

Other states, including New York, are pushing for the passage of criminal justice reform legislation, including the legalization of marijuana.

The calls for change originating from weeks of continual anger and grief following George Floyd’s murder have actually triggered national discussions that should be honored. Acknowledging the destructive damage caused by decades of cannabis restriction in addition to the corrective potential of legalization, with strong attention paid to ensuring resources are reinvested in communities most damaged by prohibition, is an essential element of honoring these calls and to abolishing racial inequality in Portland, Oregon, and throughout the country.


Nathalie Bougenies practices in the Portland office of Harris Bricken and was named a “2019 Increasing Star” by Super Attorney Publication, an honor bestowed on only 2.5%of qualified Oregon attorneys. Nathalie is also a regular factor to her firm’s Canna Law Blog

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