Portland Takes Marijuana Revenue Away From Police

Criminal justice advocates are setting their sights on cannabis taxes as many of them pursue a policy of “defunding” the police.

The City Council of Portland, Oregon approved an amendment to its proposed budget last week that would take marijuana tax revenue away from law enforcement. 

Oregon legalized cannabis in 2014. Like California, it sets aside a portion of revenue for public safety. Oregon sends 15% to the state police. Another 20% goes to county and city enforcement, which also ends up in the hands of law enforcement. A report published last year by the Portland City Auditor found that 79% of marijuana tax revenue ultimately goes toward public safety, including 46% directly sent to Portland Police.

The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) spearheaded the latest effort to divest Portland’s cannabis revenue from public safety departments. This will almost certianly become a model for other jurisdictions.