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Measure 110 advocates worry bills would shift recovery funds to police

A year after Oregon decriminalized small amounts of street drugs, some lawmakers are pushing to shift marijuana tax funds from recovery services to law enforcement.
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PORTLAND, Ore. — A year after Oregon decriminalized small amounts of street drugs, advocates for Measure 110 now are gauging efforts by lawmakers to potentially direct funding away from substance use recovery services and toward law enforcement.

Senate Bill 1541, sponsored by Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, would remove $120 million per biennium of the $250 million in marijuana tax money currently going toward services under Measure 110. The funds would be steered to the State Police to disburse to county sheriff's departments for general law enforcement needs and to tackle illegal marijuana farms.

Knopp has not responded to a request for comment, but Dru Draper, communications director for the Senate Republican Office, said the dollar amount and source of funds are in flux.

"There was a drafting error on the funding mechanism, so we are drafting an amendment to get that fixed to a one-time general fund appropriation for $60 million," Draper said Wednesday. "The need for SB1541 is simple: Law enforcement is currently stretched thin by the rise in crime. They need funding to get crime under control so Oregonians can feel safe in their neighborhoods." 

Meanwhile, the prospect of any funds potentially being withdrawn from Measure 110 services is ringing alarm bells at the Health Justice Recovery Alliance, which represents 75 community-based organizations across Oregon. Voters passed the measure in November 2020.

“We’re not even talking about a measure that was passed decades ago, but something that just passed last year,” said Tera Hurst, executive director of Health Justice Recovery Alliance. “Voters said, ‘We’d like to see more services and less law enforcement interventions.’ What’s stunning is the Legislature is saying, ‘We’re going to take money from services and give it to law enforcement.’”

Read the full story at the Portland Business Journal.


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