Pubdate: Fri, 27 Oct 2017
Source: Quesnel Cariboo Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Quesnel Cariboo Observer
Author: Ken Alexander
Page: A1


Mayor and council of the City of Quesnel developed, discussed and
passed a response to provincial government for policy considerations
for a regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis in British
Columbia at its Oct. 24 meeting.

Following the 2015 federal election, the Liberal government started
working on its campaign promise to legalize cannabis across the country.

The revision of Cannabis Act and the Criminal Code are underway and
it's expected these bills will be passed by July 2018.

The provinces will be responsible for the regulation of the
distribution and sale of cannabis.

Of great concern for the City are the extra costs for the increased
RCMP enforcement and the extra regulatory changes for the city.

Council also talked about the need for revenue sharing and the
necessity of the upper levels of government picking up the bill for
the extra enforcement and regulatory cost.

Mayor Bob Simpson noted the province didn't ask how much revenue local
governments want back in their consultation.

"If we understand this as fine revenue coming back, then we can advise
we want the fine revenue coming back to the community for our policing

Following last week's Cariboo Regional District board meeting, he says
it would be important for council to say if there is any revenue
realized from the new marijuana use changes, "there has to be some
kind of direct payback to the communities because we're going to bear
the brunt during the transition period and then on."

He then asked if council would like to make a recommendation on the
issue even though the province didn't ask for it."

Councillor Ron Paull said he thought council should be more specific
than just stating it wants a piece of the revenue.

"When it shakes right down, the federal and provincial governments
have some work to put this all through, but beyond the stroke of a
pen, the work is going to fall to the municipalities and local

He added local government are going to bear the brunt of the costs
through enforcement, building inspection, complaints about use in a
public place, etc.

"I don't think we should be complacent … I think we should be

The mayor said he didn't want to put a figure to the amount because
the federal government is going to have to figure out the tax
component because Ottawa is going to try to generate some revenue.

Coun. Ed Coleman suggested the profit sharing should be based on
one-third each for the federal, provincial and local

"To me, it's two things. It's the sharing of revenues, but it's also
they should cover our incremental costs as well."

Mayor Simpson suggested the motion could be worded on the lines that
the incremental costs and revenue sharing being proportional to the
additional burden being placed on local government.

"We really don't know what we want, but we want some money coming our
way to cover off what this is going to cost us."

Coleman reiterated he wanted to ensure the motion to read a
revenue-sharing of one-third each, but in addition to that any
additional incremental costs that can be identified would be funded

"There is no model here of those businesses [medical and non-medical]
being structured that would be legal under the current system,"
Simpson noted.

"They're not sourcing from legal distributors. They're sourcing from
illegal distribution sources.

"They're not acting under any model here that they would be sanctioned
as retailers."

He asked for a motion from council that the provincial and federal
governments equip municipalities with stronger tools to extinguish the
illegal retailing distribution system that's going to build around
whatever model they come with.

Coun. Scott Elliott said one of the options was municipalities could
in the future look at setting up private retailers, but some [private
retailers] have set up illegal outlets already.

"This is a non-starter. I think that's what they're hoping for and I
don't think we should play into that."

Said Simpson: "As we have encountered, our business tool or our fining 
tool - nothing seems to work to extinguish it. The RCMP is basically 
being asked to not engage because there's a whole bunch of court cases 
to learn where the court precedents are.

"It's a real mess and I don't see any of this disappearing. The
cleanest model is to have government retail, but if that's the model
we choose, they have to extinguish the illegal activity and then they
can look at private sector after that."

The motion was carried.

Read the policy recommendations in the Nov. 1 edition of the Quesnel
Cariboo Observer.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt