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This City Uses Taxes From Marijuana Sales For Safe Driving Program

In Oregon, a city uses taxes from marijuana sales for safe driving program. Here’s how public safety is improving.

A.J. Herrington

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This City Uses Taxes From Marijuana Sales For Safe Driving Program

Officials in Portland, Oregon have announced that this city uses taxes from marijuana sales for safe driving program they recently launched.  The new safety education campaign, known as Struck, aims to make Portland’s streets safer by getting drivers to slow down. It is part of a larger effort to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the city dubbed Vision Zero.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is funding Vision Zero with revenue from cannabis taxes. The agency has spent $300,000 to produce the Struck campaign. Vision Zero also includes $40 million in safety improvements to city streets this year alone.

The safety program is an example of how state and local governments can benefit from the legalization of cannabis and the tax money it generates.

Oregon decriminalized possession of small quantities of marijuana in 1973. Voters in the state legalized cannabis use for medical purposes in 1998. And in 2014, the legal cultivation and sale of cannabis for adult use was passed, again at the ballot box. The state subsequently enacted steep taxes on cannabis sales to pay for public services.

Multi-Faceted Media Campaign Planned

The Struck program is a multi-faceted education campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding while driving. It began last week with a television spot aired during the NCAA championship game.

The ad uses video to recreate a traffic collision, only without the cars. It’s an attempt to get people to realize the impact dangerous driving can have on peoples’ lives. The spot not only focuses on the loss of life of a victim of a car crash but the impact the aftermath has on the driver, as well.

The program will also branch out into other channels, including social media, bus ads, billboards, and movie theaters.

Leah Treat is the Director of the PBOT. She said in a release about the program that she is confident it can succeed in improving the safety of Portland’s roads.

“The Struck campaign will make our streets safer by educating the public about the need to slow down when driving,” Treat said. “With this campaign, we are changing the culture of speeding in Portland.”

“We’re letting everyone know that if you cause a fatal crash, you will not only take another person’s life, but your own life will be forever changed. Public education efforts like this are crucial for us to reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” she added.

Final Hit: This City Uses Taxes From Marijuana Sales For Safe Driving Program

Dan Saltzman is a Portland City Commissioner. He oversees PBOT and the city’s Fire and Rescue services as a part of his duties. He said that campaigns like Struck can help make communities safer.

“If we are going to reduce fatalities, we need to change how people think when they get behind the wheel,” said Saltzman.

“It used to be socially acceptable to drive without a seatbelt or drive when people were not quite sober. But with new laws and education campaigns, we changed people’s behavior. We need to do the same thing with speeding.”

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