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

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $420,570 in grants for local arts, culture groups

This happened at Monday night’s council meeting, to cover 2021

In September 2018, former Vancouver Canucks player Dave Babych tees off at Northview Golf & Country Club in Surrey during the 35th annual Jake Milford Charity Invitational tournament. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
No ‘shotguns’ or banquets: Surrey golf courses pitch COVID-safe tournaments for 2021

With spring on the way, course operators book tournaments that will involve ‘tweaks and adjustments’

Investigators placed dozens of yellow evidence markers on the ground near the site of a fatal shooting in Langley City early Wednesday morning. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: 22-year-old man killed in targeted shooting in Langley

South Surrey vehicle fire may be linked to homicide: police

Members of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society picked up their new van from Mainland Ford in Surrey Wednesday (Jan. 27, 2021) after the society’s old van was stolen and damaged. (Submitted photo: Dylan Van Rooyen)
After thrift store van stolen and damaged, Surrey dealership helps out firefighters’ charitable society

The Community Thrift Store van was stolen in South Surrey in December

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

BC Place Stadium in a photo posted to cisc-icca.ca.
Roof of BC Place a stage for performers during online music festival

‘This will be the first time any artists have performed from the 204-foot iconic Vancouver rooftop’

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

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

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read