Cannabis: municipalities demand their fair share of revenues

(OTTAWA) In turn, municipalities are demanding their fair share of tax revenues from the sale of cannabis to help finance security-related costs, which will inevitably rise as a result of the legalization of cannabis. from 1 st July 2018.

In a three-page letter sent to Finance Minister Bill Morneau on November 2, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) also argued that Ottawa and the provinces would be interested in consulting more with the municipal government on this thorny issue. whether the Canadian authorities want the legalization to be orderly.

So far, municipalities have been sidelined in discussions between Ottawa and the provinces, as they will have a crucial role to play in the day-to-day management of this new cannabis regime starting in July. next.

“Legalization is not a one-off project. Canadians need to know that the governance and enforcement structures that will be put in place by their governments next year will continue to protect them in the future, “says FCM President Jenny Gerbasi , who is acting mayor of the City of Winnipeg, in the letter to Minister Morneau.

“To address this challenge, your government has proposed a revenue-sharing formula from the sale of cannabis with the provinces to support these ongoing costs. Given the central role of municipalities in the fundamental aspects of the administration and enforcement of the law, they should be able to fully participate in revenue sharing on the conversations, “adds me Gerbasi in the message.

The press yesterday received this letter, which was also sent to Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

PROVINCIAL CLAIMS

At the recent First Ministers’ Conference in Ottawa in early October, the Trudeau government indicated that it wants to impose a $ 1 excise tax if the price for one gram of marijuana is $ 10 or less and a tax of $ 10. % if the price for a gram is greater than $ 10. Ottawa has also proposed to donate half of the revenue this tax will generate to the provinces. But this proposal was quickly rejected by the provinces, which require a higher proportion of revenues, since they will have to absorb a significant portion of the costs associated with the legalization of this drug.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then said he was ready to review the revenue-sharing formula. The country’s finance ministers are expected to address this issue during their next meeting, scheduled for December 9-11.

But neither Ottawa nor the provinces have mentioned any sharing of these revenues with municipalities so far, much to the chagrin of municipal officials.

“As you know, municipalities pay almost 60 per cent of the cost of policing in Canada, and municipal forces already have to deal with many new, increasingly complex responsibilities, such as cybercrime and border security. ”

“To prepare the majority of Canada’s police services to enforce the new cannabis laws – including providing proper training and equipping them with the necessary systems and resources – will be a huge and expensive task.”

FCM President Jenny Gerbasi in a letter to Minister Bill Morneau
In the letter, the FCM also believes that the Trudeau government should “immediately” allocate funds to support the start-up costs of municipalities in order to prepare for the safe and effective legalization of cannabis.

M me Gerbasi points out that several municipalities have incurred expenses in order to start training employees, including members of the police forces. FCM even issued an introductory document to its members in August to help municipalities get organized in anticipation of the full implementation of cannabis legalization.

In her letter, Ms. Gerbasi further argues that the governments of the eight US states that legalized cannabis for recreational purposes have provided predictable funding to municipalities to help them absorb the costs associated with this new regime.

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