Oregon Could Use Legal Marijuana Tax To Help Expunge Cannabis Convictions

It's pretty thrilling to see legalization sweeping North America and more jurisdictions voting on the issue this fall - but what about all the people who have been incarcerated for years due to harsh, outdated cannabis laws? Doesn't seem quite fair, does it?

Happily, as Oregon Public Broadcasting reports, Portland is contemplating using some of the tax revenue generated by legal recreational and medical cannabis to help expunge cannabis-related criminal convictions.

The idea comes on the heels of Oregon's decision to drop its state tax on marijuana to 17 percent in 2017, at which point cities will be permitted to add their own local taxes of up to 3 percent if voters approve.

Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who estimates the tax will generate about $3 million per year, has proposed dedicating those dollars to public safety, drug treatment programs, and “helping with expunging people’s records who were convicted of cannabis-related crimes that wouldn’t be a crime now."

If the City Council approves it, it will go to the November ballot for the voters to decide.

In addition to helping those disadvantaged by prohibition-era laws, Fritz has proposed allocating a Portland marijuana tax to drug and alcohol education and treatment programs, including programs that support rehabilitation and employment readiness, public safety investments to reduce impacts of drug and alcohol abuse, support for small businesses, and communities disproportionately affected by anti-cannabis laws.

h/t Oregon Public Broadcasting

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With northern California's renowned cannabis festival, the Emerald Cup coming up next month, we're reflecting on all the fun we had last year with cannabis influencer Elise McRoberts interviewing Herbie Herbert, a former Santana roadie and manger for Journey, as well as Steve Parish, who managed the Jerry Garcia Band and went on the road with the Grateful Dead. Back int he day, bands touring the world had to smuggle their cannabis into Europe and other foreign countries. Traveling with equipment and other gear, roadies would have to find secret places to hide the stash.

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