Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna initiative to secure formal agreements on a fair share of tax revenue from cannabis sales.

West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater is asking other municipalities to lobby Victoria for half of the provincial tax share of cannabis sales.

“Current discussions regarding revenue sharing involve the Federal and Provincial governments with no inclusion of local government,” he wrote in a letter to council. “Ultimately, the legalization will entail additional costs for local governments in both social and policing costs.”

He wrote 50 per cent of the province’s cut is an “adequate and equitable share.”

Terrace council voted unanimously in favour of the request to write a letter ahead of the province’s release of a formal strategy on legalization, expected from Ottawa in July of this year.

“It’s important to put the ask out early,” mayor Carol Leclerc said. “I think it’s imperative that we not just sit back and pretend that everything’s fine on this end, because it probably will get costly.”

The framework of the federal bills legalizing recreational cannabis give a lot of latitude for provinces to develop their own regulations around the distribution and consumption of cannabis. However, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has warned that local government has not been given it’s fair say in how those regulations will play out on the street.

“There are common elements across the country for which municipalities are responsible,” the FCM wrote in a recent report. “Based on the pan-Canadian analysis conducted to date, municipalities are likely to be most active in the areas of zoning, business licensing, building code, municipal workplace safety and enforcement of regulations around public consumption and impaired driving.

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