Pubdate: Tue, 19 Dec 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Kevin Rollason
Page: A3


WINKLER'S mayor vows that until the smoke clears on pot legalization,
his community won't vote to allow retailers to sell recreational pot.

Mayor Martin Harder says his council recently decided to ignore the
province's Dec. 22 deadline to vote on the issue.

"Our biggest issue is the rules keep changing," Harder said on

"They said you have to vote by Dec. 22 and then the next one says you
can have four years to have a plebiscite. We don't want to do that.

"We just are ill-prepared."

The decision by Winkler not to vote is all in the run up to next
year's legalization of marijuana by the federal government.

The federal government has proposed imposing an excise tax of $1 per
gram or 10 per cent of the final retail price - whichever amount is
higher - when marijuana becomes legal on July 1.

Last week, Manitoba was the lone holdout to signing on to an agreement
to share the tax revenue from legalized cannabis. That agreement would
see at least 75 per cent of the revenue go to the provinces, with the
provinces distributing a portion of the monies to municipalities and
the federal government keeping 25 per cent.

Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said the province decided
not to sign because it still doesn't know what the eventual costs will
be for various services including policing and health.

Harder said because there are so many unknowns, he is planning to hold
a town hall early in the new year, with invited experts, so community
members can listen and ask questions.

"We're not saying we will or not, but we don't have enough details to
make a decision at this point... we want to do this

Meanwhile, some other communities have already voted on the

The Rural Municipality of Gimli was the first in the province to vote
no, but Mayor Randy Woroniuk said it's not a final decision.

"At this point we've voted no, but we will reopen this whole
discussion when we have more information," Woroniuk said.

"Once we get the information we'll go back to the community and ask
them what does the community want. We want to be prudent and decide
what's best for the community."

But even the tiniest municipality in the province, the Municipality of
Brenda-Waskada, population around 600, has voted in favour of it.

Gary Williams, the municipality's head of council, said "we didn't
have a whole lot of resistance to it.

"If there is somebody somewhere here who wants to take it on we don't
have a problem with it."

Williams said while the village of Waskada has a few businesses,
including a community store, post office and credit union, it also has
an empty 100 by 250 foot building which could be turned into a pot
shop and more.

"It was going to be a hemp processing plant, but it never made it," he

"We don't have anybody in mind for it, but even though we have voted,
we don't expect it to happen quickly."
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