“This is an opportunity for us to lead not only in our state but in the nation,” Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski.
As a pioneer in both cannabis and drug policy reforms, Oregon has been helping lead the rest of the nation since the becoming the first to decriminalize cannabis possession all the way back in 1973. As the third state to vote to end cannabis prohibition in 2014 and the first to end criminal punishments for personal drug possession in 2020, Oregonians are demonstrating like Portugal did over two decades ago, that the failed and harmful Drug War isn’t the only way, that a new approach is better; we can invest in people, instead of just more and more prisons. Following the passage of Measure 110 and its enacting legislation, Senate Bill 755, $302 million of the state’s cannabis tax revenue has been set aside for much-needed drug treatment, harm reduction, and recovery programs, over the next two years.
With $151 million a year going towards life-saving programs, the Oregon cannabis community can be proud to shop at local craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, knowing that your hard-earned money will be invested in improving lives. The Oregon Health Justice & Recovery Alliance, the coalition that spearheaded legislative efforts released a press release announcing the passage of SB 755:
Senate Bill 755, a bill that helps create and solidify a strong Measure 110 program, has passed both legislative chambers after a final vote today by the Oregon House of Representatives. The bill passed the House 39-15 and passed the Senate earlier this session 21-8. SB 755 received bipartisan support in both chambers.
SB 755 strengthens the Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act by:
- Creating access to lifesaving harm reduction and addiction recovery services in all 36 counties;
- Streamlining processes for courts by sending verification of screening assessments electronically to the jurisdictional court;
- Requiring that youth to be referred to the juvenile system for assessment and resources, rather than adult court;
- Requiring the collection of data to better understand and address the needs of local communities; and
- Designating a specific portion of Measure 110 grant funding to Tribes and other BIPOC communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.
As chief petitioner of the Measure 91 legalization law and one of the chief petitioners of Measure 110, I certainly have my biases, but Oregonians can be proud of taking a sledgehammer to the racist and classist War on Drugs. Our laws should be about people, not about the drugs. It’s easy to fearmonger, but in reality, what we want for our loved ones is a better policy than just arresting and jailing nonviolent drug users. I’m so proud that a majority of Oregon voters have seen through the smokescreen of prohibitionists and understand that providing treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services work more effectively than harmful criminal convictions.
I’m especially pleased that a specific portion of cannabis tax revenue is being allocated towards Indigenous Tribes, and the Black and Brown communities most harmed by the Drug War. It has warmed my heart reading about how the Miracles Club, Oregon’s only organization targeting the African American recovery community, has already received over $200,000 thanks to the passage of Measure 110. This first round of funding has allowed Miracles to hire three new peer mentors as well as additional support staff, with the goal of turning the center into Portland’s first full-scale treatment facility tailored to communities of color.
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Centro Latino Americano, La Clinica, Yellowhawk Tribal Health, Black Mental Health Oregon, and Northwest Instituto Latino de Adicciones were also some of the recipients specializing in helping BIPOC who received grants in the first wave of Measure 110 funding. So many organizations, such as these and the Alano Club of Portland, Outside In, the Portland People’s Outreach Project, Bridges to Change, and Central City Concern, literally doing life-saving work, will now be able to help more people thanks to Measure 110 and Senate Bill 755.
When you hear of prohibitionists seeking to repeal Measure 110, know that they are advocating for thousands of unnecessary drug possession arrests that disproportionately target people of color and the poor. These prohibitionists, if they get their way, will be taking funding away from treatment, harm reduction, and recovery organizations and setting our tax dollars on fire by giving it to the prison-industrial complex instead. Oregon voters have helped lead the way towards ending the Drug War, but we must be vigilant to protect our gains. But, it’s okay to celebrate how far we have come.
When you shop at Kind Leaf, Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique, you are getting the best selection of the best cannabis in the Great Northwest and supporting a small business that gives back to the local community. Come into our beautiful store or shop online via Leafly. Remember to check out our deals and know that we always provide discounts to military veterans, senior citizens, and OMMP patients.