Recreational marijuana sales become legal across Canada in October. (Black Press files)

B.C. towns to premier: Show us the marijuana money

Local governments face enforcement costs, pressure on farmland

Local governments facing new marijuana regulation and enforcement cost are seeking up to half of the provincial revenues from recreational sales that are set to begin in October.

Resolutions to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention offer multiple suggestions to the B.C. government, an issue likely to dominate the annual gathering of local and provincial politicians in Whistler Sept. 10-14.

Communities face costs “including but not limited to policing, licensing, enforcement, zoning and zoning enforcement, by-laws and by-law enforcement and possible health issues,” and should get half of the province’s revenue, says a resolution from the village of Tahsis.

Nelson and Pemberton resolutions also call for a 50-50 split in revenue, which the province estimated in its February budget at $50 million for the balance of 2018-19 and $75 million for full years following that.

Provinces negotiated a 75 per cent share of revenues with Ottawa in May, with similar arguments about the burden of policing and regulating cannabis stores. The federal government is placing an excise tax of $1 a gram on all recreational sales.

B.C. has decided to allow private stores, many already operating, plus a chain of government retail outlets to start opening by Oct. 17 and a monopoly on wholesale supply.

RELATED: B.C. waits to add ‘craft cannabis’ to stores

The B.C. government announced earlier this month that the Liquor Distribution Branch wholesale markup on cannabis will be 15 per cent, compared to 124 per cent for a bottle of hard liquor. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has emphasized that the retail price of legal marijuana must be kept low, or illegal producers will hold on to some of the market.

Other resolutions dealing with legalizing marijuana include:

• Delta council is calling for a provincial ban or restrictions on growing cannabis on agricultural land. Its resolution notes that it can be grown in greenhouses on existing industrial land, and only 1.1 per cent of B.C.’s land area is suitable for growing food.

• The City of Nelson has a resolution urging the province to allow leasing of Crown land to grow cannabis, also to preserve farmland for food crops.

• Langley Township’s resolution calls on the federal government to place similar restrictions on cannabis advertising as it has for tobacco sales.

• New Westminster council wants the province to harmonize smoking regulations applying to tobacco with smoking marijuana.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Why school portables are a ‘way of life’ in Surrey

THIRD IN A SERIES: A look at concerns surrounding Surrey’s 300-plus portables

Grieving mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Stay home, cats – only pet dogs are OK to attend ‘Cat Walk’ at Surrey park

Surrey Community Cat Coalition’s second annual fundraiser planned Saturday

Surrey high school teacher receives Loran award

First ever to be given to Surrey teacher, district says

ZYTARUK: Canal isn’t Surrey’s first ‘different’ idea

Anyone up for waterskiing in Doug’s Ditch?

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Update: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

CP rail has closed tracks while firefighters work

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read