The mayors from some of Canada’s biggest cities are looking for a puff-puff-pass on tax revenue that will be rolling in from adult-use pot sales in 2018.
Local governments are asking for the funds to be filtered down to cover costs associated with land use, licensing applications for businesses, and law enforcement, once marijuana is a legal commodity.
The Parliamentary Budget Office estimated that the combined tax revenue from adult-use cannabis collected by federal and provincial governments could climb as high as $959 million the first year marijuana is legal.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is acting Chair of the Mayors Group, and in an interview with The Canadian Press, he said, “one conversation that we think is important to have, is support for local governments dealing with the costs of enforcement.”
Mayor Mike Savage of Halifax is looking for direction from the feds by this fall, regarding the specific guidelines that will be in place once legalization takes hold.
Savage said he’s looking for “clarity around the law so that we can be prepared to deal with dispensaries, many of whom think that as soon as this passes, [they] can just open anywhere they want.”
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman also chimed in with his concerns over the short timeline that the Trudeau Liberals have set for legal weed.
“The one thing that, of course, concerns me is the timing of how quickly this is occurring,” Bowman said. The Mayor added, “depending on where the revenues are being collected and by whom, could play a role in helping us address our concerns, and what we expect are going to be increasing costs to policing.”
The outcry over costs and timelines related to legal pot is not a new phenomenon.
Last month, Marijuana.com contacted Premiers across the country to get their thoughts on how the process is going. The inquiries were in response to a Global News article which stated that provinces were being openly vocal about the quick turnaround and added costs related to legal weed.
Bill C-45 is currently undergoing its second reading in the House of Commons and has been subjected to significant debate by the opposition.
Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett