PORTLAND — There’s a bright spot in Portland’s annual budget: higher-than-anticipated revenue from cannabis taxes.
But three years after voters approved the 3 percent tax, the city council is still trying to agree on how to spend it.
The ballot initiative gave the city council authority to spend cannabis tax money on a few broadly defined priorities: drug and alcohol education and treatment; public safety and street safety including protecting the public from unsafe drivers; and support for small businesses and economic opportunity for communities impacted by cannabis prohibition.
Last year, the city council allocated the biggest chunk of ongoing revenue, $2.15 million, to the Portland Police Bureau’s traffic division — a move that’s sparked controversy.
As a report from the city auditor recently pointed out, that new funding…