According to The Weed Blog, New Approach Oregon, looking to move Oregon lawmakers forward to passing legislation that would lessen pot offender’s sentences while making expungement of criminal records possible for marijuana-related offenses, hired a lobbyist.
House Bill 3372 and Senate Bill 364 have stimulated New Approach to team up with Bus Project and host phone banks to help fuel public support for the passage of the two bills. Oregon has some of the highest rates of marijuana possession arrests in the country – 1 out of 14 according to The Oregonian. What’s more, these arrests, as researched by the ACLU, indicate racial biases. African Americans are twice as likely to be arrested for Marijuana possession than whites in Oregon, even though they use pot at the same rate, and comprise less of the population.
Measure 91 paved the way for the legalization of marijuana by a fairly large margin of 12%. July 1st is the day that marijuana becomes legal, however this push for expungement comes as the laws permitting the recreational use of marijuana are still being created. With that being the case, lawmakers are subject to lobbying and influence by special interest groups.
The Bus Project is an Oregon-based, volunteer-run political force in the region. Started in 2002, the founding members bought a bus and literally began putting people (volunteers) on it. The Bus Project’s goal is to affect political change in Oregon and shape the future of the state by educating and informing those who are willing to listen.