A cashier rings up a recreational marijuana purchase in Nevada, where it has been legalized. (AP Photo/John Locher)

A cashier rings up a recreational marijuana purchase in Nevada, where it has been legalized. (AP Photo/John Locher)

B.C. cities want more money, and more talk, on legal pot

A Union of B.C. Municipalities resolution says municipalities want help enforcing marijuana rules

With the federal government doubling down on promise to legalize pot by Canada Day 2018, B.C. cities want to make sure they’re ready.

In their lead resolution, to be debated at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver Sept. 27, the UBCM executive is asking for federal and provincial governments to consult, share revenue and respect local government jurisdiction.

Legalizing marijuana was a key election promise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has reiterated his commitment to the cause. Two bills have since been tabled in the House of Commons; Bill C-45, which when passed would legalize cannabis, and Bill C-46, which would strengthen drug-impaired driving laws.

READ: Battle over future of legal marijuana in B.C. just starting

A federal task force came came out with a list of recommendations in late 2016. Those recommendations included selling marijuana in separate retail store, rather than with alcohol or tobacco, four plants up to 100 cm tall themselves for personal use and a 30-gram limit for personal possession.

In early 2017, Bill Blair, a Toronto police chief turned parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, went on a cross-country tour to ask municipalities, educators and police about their views on Trudeau’s legalization plans. That feedback, he noted, would go back to Ottawa to help shape how legal pot will look in Canada.

READ: Feds stop by Mission, Abbotsford to talk marijuana legalization

For its part, B.C. has kept its options for regulating marijuana open.

Going into meetings with federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and provincial ministers, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said he was focused on distribution and pricing.

“Distribution is key to that, whether you have a central distribution location, for example the Liquor Distribution Branch, or multiple distribution options,” Farnworth said.

“When [Finance Minister] Carole James and myself were down in Washington and Oregon, one thing that was very clear is that you cannot set the tax rate so high that it encourages the black market.”

Municipal governments have expressed concerns on how much of that tax revenue will trickle down into their own coffers.

A UBCM survey of 57 local government noted that “arguably the most cited overarching concern was the potential for a transfer of responsibilities to local governments without accompanying funding from other orders of government.”

The resolution asks the federal government ensure that some of the tax money from legal pot go local governments. That comes amidst worries raised by cities that their police departments, which already take up 30 per cent on average of municipal budgets, will bear the burden of any increased enforcement.

Much of the worry appears to come from what municipalities see as a lack of communication. Just over four-fifths of respondents said that they had yet to participate in any formal consultation process.

Although the province issues a formal response to all UBCM resolutions, they do not have any binding authority.

– with files from Tom Fletcher and The Canadian Press

marijuana

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

(CIty of Kelowna)
Kelowna council shoots down Upper Mission subdivision after 8 years of planning

Thomson Flats would have introduced 680 new homes near Kelowna’s southern boundary

Ice rescue on Shannon Lake. Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News.
‘Ice season is over’; West Kelowna crews rescue man from icy lake

A man in his 60’s was pulled from the waters of Shannon Lake after falling through

HOPE Okanagan’s Stay at Home Gala will raise funds to help serve Kelowna and Vernon’s vulnerable. (HOPE Okanagan)
Non-profit hosts virtual gala to support Okanagan’s vulnerable

HOPE Okanagan wants to raise awareness and support for those struggling in the streets

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared the Lumby RCMP of any wrongdoing after a missing person was found deceased in December 2020. (IIO photo)
Police watchdog says North Okanagan RCMP played no role in missing person’s death

The body was found by a family member shortly after the RCMP suspended their search

The images are of Bald Eagles feeding.
Photos: Birds of prey

Princeton photographer captures compelling photos of a Bald Eagle breakfast

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

An off-duty Vernon Taxi driver got a 24-hour licence suspension, vehicle towed, after failing a standardized field sobriety test around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (John E Green - Facebook)
Vernon Taxi towed after driver suspected impaired

Off-duty cab towed from McDonald’s drive-thru early Tuesday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

Canadian Mental Health Association staff and volunteers experienced increased Crisis Line calls with COVID-related concerns. (CMHA photo)
North Okanagan MP pushes for national suicide hotline

Mel Arnold seeks support from North Okanagan-Shuswap municipalities for 988 hotline

Most Read