Municipalities are united in the demand for revenues from the province to deal with arrival of marijuana retail sales next year, say the mayors of Kelowna and West Kelowna.—Image: Pixabay

Kelowna, West Kelowna asking for one-third of pot revenues

West Kelowna to initiate a letter-writing campaign to press for money from province

Kelowna’s mayor says what he heard from the province Tuesday about the rules regarding the distribution and planned retail method for marijuana in B.C. once the federal government makes it legal across Canada July, 1, 2018 was fine.

But it was what he didn’t hear that concerns him

Colin Basran said Wednesday the announcement fell short in that it did not address the contentious issue of cost-sharing with the municipalities, an issue he said is a unanimous request among cities and towns across B.C.

And he added the issue of how the private sector will be involved in the retailing of the drug also needs to be clarified sooner rather than later.

“Will it be dispensaries or not. We just don’t know,” said Basran.

The province announced the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch will handle the wholesale distribution of marijuana in the province once it is legalized next July and it will be sold by both government stores and private retailers.

Basran said the clock is ticking for municipalities to learn how much, if any, of the revenues generated by marijuana sales will go to municipalities to handle issues like zoning, enforcement, inspection and other issues associated with allowing stores that sell the drug in the city.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater expressed the same concern.

He said while his council had not favoured private retailers in the input it gave to the province, if it is to be allowed municipalities must get money to make it work.

Both he and Basran said they favor an equal split among the federal, provincial and municipal governments, of one-third each.

Findlater said his council plans to write a letter to the province proposing that and will try and generate a letter-writing campaign supporting that position by all other municipalities in B.C.

The move to write the letter and start the campaign will be discussed at West Kelowna council’s next meeting Dec. 12.

What the province announced on Tuesday does fit with what Kelowna city council wanted—as expressed in its input to the government—with the exception of the revenue sharing and specifics about the retail structure.

Basran said he feared if the province waits too long to let municipalities know how it plans to proceed on those two important issues, Kelowna may not be ready in time to deal with allowing private retailers by July 1.

“It involves zoning and enforcement, and those are two areas where the city is already pretty busy,” he said.

Meanwhile, despite the province saying there will be some sort of private retail allowed, Basran said his city has no intention of stopping its move to get a court injunction to shut down existing private marijuana dispensaries operating illegally in the city.

In West Kelowna, the RCMP has picked up the issue and has written to all the dispensaries operating there warning them to shut down or face the consequences of operating an illegal business.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Women charged in Central Okanagan Hospice Association theft scheduled to plead guilty

Susan Steen has been charged with theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000 relating to missing money.

Callan Rd. to have intermittent closures on Feb. 16

The closures could delay traffic up to 20 minutes, no exact times for the closures were listed

Family Day fun starts today around the Central Okanagan

You don’t have to wait until Monday to enjoy free family fun

Memorial for popular Lake Country teen to be live streamed

A memorial service for Derek Flowers-Johnson will be held at 1 p.m.

Infighting at Kelowna Yacht Club makes it to court

Marc Whittemore, a local lawyer and prominent member of the club, filed a notice of civil claim Feb. 1

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Man and woman shot in targeted incident in Kamloops

The shooting happened yesterday afternoon

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read