Pubdate: Wed, 19 Jul 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell
Page: GT3


Mayor John Tory is asking the province for a dedicated share of pot
revenues - possibly through a special levy - after recreational
marijuana becomes legal in Canada next July 1.

While the province plans to regulate the sale of pot in a yet-to-be
determined retail distribution model, it will "be on the shoulders of
municipalities" to pick up "a big part" of the added licensing, zoning
bylaw enforcement and policing costs, Tory wrote in a letter to
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

"Whatever decisions are made, I have no doubt the result will be
increased costs for the city of Toronto," Tory wrote in his letter.

"As a consequence, we would want to discuss with you what the
magnitude of those costs might be and reach agreement with you on both
increased public health funding and a dedicated share of increased
provincial revenues attributable to the sale of marijuana."

Tory suggested city and provincial officials, who are already in
discussions on the issue, explore the possibility of a special levy on
pot similar to what some U.S. cities have imposed to offset increased

The mayor's letter says it is essential that municipalities be
included in discussions on the rules and regulation of retailing,
marijuana smoking and sales and public education.

The federal government will license and regulate marijuana growers
while the provinces will decide how pot should be distributed and
sold. Buyers will have to be at least 18, though provinces can set a
higher minimum.

The Ontario government is holding consultations before deciding how to
proceed. But the premier has indicated the possibility of selling pot
in government-run stores, similar to the way booze is sold through the

The province is working hard to meet Ottawa's deadline for
legalization and a key part of that is ensuring all stakeholders,
including municipalities, have a chance to provide input and feedback,
a Ministry of the Attorney General spokesperson wrote in an email Tuesday.
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