Oregon legislators will get their first in-depth look at HB 3112, the Oregon Cannabis Equity Act, Thursday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. The bill, developed by a coalition of over 80 groups and individuals, calls for using cannabis tax revenues to provide for direct investment in the people and the communities most harmed by cannabis criminalization.
State Rep. Ricki Ruiz, one of the chief sponsors of the measure, said using cannabis tax dollars to repair the harm individuals and communities have suffered from over-arrest and incarceration must be dealt with now.
“We have a unique opportunity this session where we can truly make a difference in the lives of Oregonians who bore the brunt of cannabis criminalization for decades,” said Rep. Ruiz, a chief sponsor of the bill. “The data is clear that Black, LatinX and Indigenous Oregonians are often the targets of arrest and then suffer the consequences at a far greater rate than the population in general. By using cannabis tax revenues to help fund home ownership, job training, health care and expungement, we can repair some of the damage done and immediately improve their lives.”
The hearing is slated for Thursday, March 11, at 1 p.m. To watch the virtual hearing, go to https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Committees/HJUD/2021-03-11-13-00/Agenda.
Chief sponsors of HB 3112 include Representatives Janelle Bynum, Ricki Ruiz, Mark Meek, Julie Fahey and Senators Lew Frederick and Kayse Jama. Current sponsors include Representatives Karin Power, Pam Marsh, Maxine Dexter, Zach Hudson and Khahn Pham.
“The work we’ve done on criminal justice reform is a start at repairing the damage done by cannabis criminalization. But there is more work ahead. The expungement portion of HB 3112 will provide a much-needed fresh start for tens of thousands of Oregonians. And the direct investment in communities will provide a path forward for those who have been denied equal access to the economic system in our state and country today,” said Sen. Lew Frederick.