Portland’s city council approved over $631,000 in grants towards the city’s 2019 Cannabis Social Equity Grant Program. The social equity program and its funds will be directed to expunge received charges and convictions of cannabis possession and other related charges. It was said at the city council meeting on Wednesday that there was a disproportionate number of arrests in African American communities, followed by Native American communities.
Jeanette Ward Horton, member of the New Leaf Project, stated: “Many studies have shown that adults across races use cannabis at similar rates. However, we can see in the next two slides, this is arrest rates and the slide after is conviction rates in the state of Oregon, you can see the disproportionate targeting first of African American communities. Second, Native American communities.”
It was reported after an audit conducted by the city of Portland earlier this year that 79% of the tax revenue earned from legal cannabis sales funded law enforcement and transportation. An ordinance put forth by voters in Portland didn’t specify where and what programs or services cannabis tax revenues should go to. A new change resulted in the governance of tax grants to be put in the hands of Portland’s Cannabis Program.
Charles Mangio, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, stated: “With this cannabis grant, we’ve been able to help seven of our folks get drivers’ licenses. Because that’s a huge barrier and a huge obstacle that we face. If our folks don’t have drivers’ licenses they may be on out-of-work lists longer than folks who do have drivers’ licenses.
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