Legalizing cannabis in Oregon has resulted in many positive developments. Thousands of jobs have been created and millions in revenue have been added to the state’s budget thanks to the nascent billion dollar industry. Criminal penalties have been drastically reduced, arrests have plummeted, and some convictions have been cleared from records. The passage of Measure 91 helped build the foundation to pass Measure 109 to legalize medical psilocybin therapy and Measure 110 to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs while allocating more than $100 million a year more for drug treatment, harm reduction, and recovery programs. However, there is much more work to be done. Previous marijuana criminal offenses need to be expunged automatically, regardless of the ability to pay court fees, and the industry hasn’t sufficiently uplifted the communities most harmed by the Drug War. The Cannabis Equity Act, House Bill 3112, is a great opportunity to bring more justice to our criminal justice system by automatically expunging old cannabis convictions while expanding economic opportunities across demographics by allowing cannabis cafes, and implementing equity provisions. Thanks to the Cannabis Equity PAC, Oregonians can easily send a message to legislators supporting HB 3112 that reads, in part:
Cannabis legalization has led to an influx of tax revenues far beyond what was ever imagined when cannabis was legalized in 2014. With significantly increased cannabis tax revenues and with our Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities at their most economically vulnerable following 2020, now is the time to invest in equity and economic repair for Black, Indigenous and Latinx people with the passage of HB 3112.
HB 3112 would allow for the direct investment of a portion of our cannabis tax revenues for housing, health care, and educational needs into these communities as we commit to restoring essential rights and privileges to those who have been stripped of them simply due to cannabis criminalization.
HB 3112 would provide an automatic and free path to expungement for some 28,000 Oregonians allowing them access to loans, better opportunities for jobs and an ability to begin building the generational wealth that has been denied them.
Please take a moment to send a letter to the Oregon House Judiciary Committee. The Oregon Cannabis PAC has made it super easy and quick, you can make your voice heard in under a minute. The bill is set for a work session on Thursday, April 8th, and could get passed out of committee. Regardless of whether the Cannabis Equity Act passes this session or not, it’s important to demonstrate as much support as possible and to continue to build upon the foundation that hard-working advocates have put into bringing more fairness to our system. A sincere thanks to everyone making their voices heard.