Kelowna’s mayor says the federal government’s decision to give the provinces 75 per cent of revenues from the sale of marijuana once it becomes legal in Canada next July leaves open the possibility municipalities may get the cut they want in order to deal the impact on their communities.
But Colin Basran said Victoria has not yet to made it clear how much the municipalities will get, and that remains a concern given the fact the clock is ticking on legalization.
“In some ways, we’re no farther ahead,” he said.
The municipalities say they should get one-third of the revenue because they will have to do the majority of the work in regulating the retail sale of the drug, especially with private retail outlets.
But despite his concern of getting the money, Basran said his council has no plans to join a West Kelowna initiative that its mayor, Doug Findalter announced last week to try and get a letter-writing campaign by municipalities to the provincial government going demanding one-third of the revenues.
“I don’t think we’ll be writing a letter,” said Basran earlier this week.
He said that was because the city made its demand for funding as part of the input it gave the province when asked to do so last month and because the Union of B.C. Municipalities is currently lobbying for that on behalf of cities and towns across the province.
Last week, the federal government announced it will take just 25 per cent of the revenues from the sale of marijuana, leaving 75 per cent for the provinces. The move was a huge step down from Ottawa’s opening position of a 50-50 split with the provinces.
Basran said there seems to be a consensus among municipalities that the revenue split should be one-third each to the federal government, the provinces and the municipalities.
Kelowna says the money is needed to pay for issues like zoning, inspection, policing, and other functions it will have to take on to deal with the location and sale of marijuana by private retailers in the city.
The province has said it plans to allow the sale through government stores and private retail locations.
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