Pubdate: Fri, 17 Nov 2017
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Windsor Star
Author: Megan Stacey
Page: A4


There may be as much as $1 billion in tax revenue at stake as Canada
readies for legalized marijuana next summer. The cut for cities? So
far, zero. Municipalities may be left in the cold when it comes to
sharing in the cash from legalized pot sales, with the federal
government proposing a 10 per cent excise tax - or $1 per gram,
whichever is higher - to be split evenly between the provinces and the

Little has been said about how many, if any, tax dollars will flow to
cities bearing the burden of costs associated with policing, licensing
and enforcement of marijuana sales after July 1.

Southwestern Ontario leaders are none too pleased.

"Municipalities aren't even in the equation. It's this patronizing
approach that the provinces take," Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said
Monday. "They pass out the gruel when they want to."

He's frustrated municipalities weren't even mentioned in the federal
government's plan for marijuana taxation announced last Friday.

Many of the costs and zoning challenges of legalization will naturally
fall to cities, such as London and Windsor, which are both on the list
the first 14 cities that will have stand-alone cannabis stores when
the program rolls out in July 2018.

"I think it's important for the feds and province to share revenue
with the municipalities," said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. "At the end
of the day, the feds and province have the money and the jurisdiction,
and the cities are the places that are going to have the problems."

"Whether that's policing costs, implementation costs, social costs -
we will be the ones that feel the brunt of that pressure," London
Mayor Matt Brown said, calling for a "significant portion" of any tax
revenue to be earmarked for municipalities.

An excise tax, linked to certain goods such as gasoline and tobacco,
would be added to pot prices before sales tax under the federal plan.
That means an $8 gram of marijuanawould sell for $9 plus HST in
Ontario. In total, that gram would cost $10.17 with excise and sales

Liberal MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who's been
tasked with helming the government's pot plans, told reporters the
total revenue, including excise duty and sales tax, could be as high
as $1 billion.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario is advocating for cities
and towns to get their fair share.

"We're going to see the brunt of the work in (legalization). So we're
telling both levels of government that we're going to be needing some
resources to go with the responsibility we're going to be given," said
Lynn Dollin, president of AMO.

London North Centre Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos hit back against the
criticism, saying the federal government is paying attention to the
needs of municipalities.

"We are actively listening," he said. "We are not ignoring the
concerns of cities."

It's much too soon to be ringing alarm bells, Fragiskatos said,
pointing out that Friday's announcement kicked off a month-long
consultation period on the proposed tax plan. Provincial and federal
finance ministers are slated to meet in the nation's capital after
consultation closes Dec. 7.

- - With files from Brian Cross
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MAP posted-by: Matt