Giving Compass' Take:

• Maureen O’Hagan explains how Oregon is working to support entrepreneurs in the legal marijuana industry who were negatively impacted by the war on drugs. 

• Can this model be used to lift up whole communities, rather than just individuals? 

• Learn about Oakland's efforts to use legal marijuana to undo the damage of the war on drugs

A decade ago, Adrian Wayman was waiting for a bus in a Decatur, Georgia, park when he was approached by police.

“I’m not sure what prompted the search,” he said. “A bunch of Black teenagers hanging out at the park?”

They found a small amount of marijuana in his backpack and hauled him down to the jail where they booked him, fingerprinted him, and charged him with a misdemeanor.

How times have changed. Seven years after moving to Portland, Oregon, Wayman was awarded a $30,000 grant from the city to help bolster his marijuana delivery business, Green Box. It is part of a new program to help small cannabis businesses run by entrepreneurs from communities negatively affected by the war on drugs.

In a country where some form of marijuana is legal in 33 states, the grants make Portland the first jurisdiction to dole out cannabis tax money to this targeted community. It’s intended as a sort of reparation, an effort to level the playing field as the industry emerges. Oregonians voted to legalize recreational cannabis in 2014, and the city sees this grant program as a possible model for the rest of the country.

Read the full article about using legal marijuana to lift up communities by Maureen O’Hagan at YES! Magazine.