Fresh Start Goes National.

Check out the Bus Project’s statement from this morning’s press conference with Congressman Earl Blumenauer. From New Motor Voter to Fresh Start Oregon and beyond, we’ve been working hard in Salem this session to win some important victories, and it’s great to see the rest of the country take notice.


July 20, 2015



11267724_10107010018688174_5871758212492068728_n[1]Good Morning. My name is Aaron Brown, and I’m the Outreach Coordinator of the Oregon Bus Project. We are a nonpartisan organization working to empower and inspire the next generation of Oregon’s leaders through engagement with hands-on democracy, voter registration, leadership development and issue advocacy.

The Bus Project is proud to have launched the Fresh Start Oregon campaign this spring and to be sharing the stage today with the elected officials and community leaders who have stepped forward to support this important cause. Last year, we were honored to celebrate the overwhelming passage of Measure 91 to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana after working on the issue and discussing it with young voters last fall. However, we knew that despite our important victory in November, we hadn’t finished our work to ensure that our preexisting prohibition on marijuana wouldn’t continue to impact everyday Oregonians.

We were concerned that Black Oregonians in Multnomah and Lane Counties were more than three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana charges than White Oregonians despite ample evidence suggesting equal levels of use.  Given our current economic climate, many Oregonians are already struggling to find reliable housing, employment, or funding for education, all of which are important prerequisites for our economic stability.  That Housing, Employment and Education funding and access could be withheld from Oregonians attempting to get their lives back on track after a petty, nonviolent marijuana charge highlights exactly how our existing drug laws are not making our society any safer, are not making our communities healthier, and are in fact harming lives, families and communities across the state.

The Bus Project worked with community leaders to collect over 1800 signatures from Oregonians across the state in support of this campaign. We sent over 300 messages to our legislators in Salem and helped share the stories of Oregonians and their families who feel the impact of these laws every day, and we’re thrilled to see that both House Bill 3400 and Senate Bill 844 received bipartisan support. We applaud the leadership of Congressman Earl Blumenauer to encourage the rest of the country to follow Oregon’s groundbreaking example and work to ensure that petty marijuana crimes don’t continue to ruin countless Americans’ lives.


Aaron Brown

Outreach Coordinator, Oregon Bus Project

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