Allocating Cannabis Taxes to Communities Impacted by the War on Drugs

As conversations about defunding police departments mount across the country, RII is focusing on our collective opportunity to influence the reallocation of cannabis taxes. In Portland, Oregon, 45% of cannabis taxes go to the police, and while a portion is to be provided to communities most harmed by the war on drugs, the percentage to be reinvested has not been defined. It is unacceptable that communities of color have to wait for a determination while police budgets continue to grow.

Nationally, only 4% of cannabis business owners are Black (Marijuana Business Daily, 2017). Black entrepreneurs face larger and more frequent challenges accessing capital and educational resources.

Restorative justice for cultivators of color in the cannabis industry is a central part of RII’s mission. By providing equitable access to resources and education that can elevate growers and improve operational efficiency of cultivation processes, we seek to empower cultivators of color, in particular Black cannabis cultivators, to excel and compete in the market.

RII recommends that jurisdictions look to NuLeaf Project, a non-profit organization based in our hometown of Portland, Oregon. NuLeaf Project invests cannabis tax and corporate revenue into Portland-based businesses owned by people of color and Portland professionals of color. As a result of NuLeaf’s actions, the City of Portland recently announced “a real step in the right direction by redirecting $12M to black and brown communities. $7M from Police Bureau and another $5M from other sources, but the work is still not done.”

Consider making a recurring donation to NuLeaf Project to enable more cultivators of color to receive specialized assistance to increase representation of Black business owners and professionals in the cannabis industry.