Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jan 2018
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2018 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Joyanne Pursaga
Page: 6


Manitobans want municipalities to get half of pot revenue: survey

Most Manitobans believe municipalities should get at least half of the
revenues raised through recreational pot taxes, a new survey says.

A Probe Research poll commissioned by the Association of Manitoba
Municipalities found 59% of respondents believe municipal governments
should get between one half and all of the tax revenue from marijuana
sales. Another 24% felt they should get less than half of the revenue
and 16% weren't sure.

The total doesn't add up to 100%, due to rounding.

The AMM says the result indicates public support for its lobby to
claim at least onethird of the revenue from a federal pot tax, which
is set to charge $1 per gram or 10% on recreational pot sales. Those
sales will become legal in Canada on July 1.

"We want to make sure ... that municipalities aren't put in a negative
situation where we have additional costs but no additional revenue,"
said AMM president Chris Goertzen.

A preliminary estimate from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
(FCM) predicts legal pot will cost cities between $3 million and $4.75
million per half-million people served, primarily through policing.

"Protecting Canadians from drug-impaired drivers will require police
training, equipment and public education. All of this will cost money
that municipalities do not have," said FCM president Jenny Gerbasi.

In addition to one-third of the excise tax, municipalities say
additional grants may be needed after the cost of legalizing pot
becomes clearer.

The federal government recently offered provinces a 75% share of the
excise tax, in part to ensure revenue is passed on to municipalities.
But Manitoba has yet to sign on to that agreement.

And the mayor of one Manitoba community said financial uncertainty is
one of the key reasons his community recently voted not to allow pot
stores, at least for now.

"We don't want to have (unknown costs) downloaded to municipalities.
Then we have to pay for something that we don't have the revenue to
pay for, which means (we'd) have to go and raise people's taxes and
that's not fair," said Randy Woroniuk, mayor of the Rural Municipality
of Gimli.

Woroniuk said his community will reconsider allowing pot sales after
the full impact of doing so becomes known.

Manitoba Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton wasn't available
for interviews Thursday. And an email from

Wharton didn't directly answer what, if any, portion of pot taxes the
province is willing to pass on to municipalities.

"We'll continue to work with all levels of government in establishing
a framework for Manitoba," wrote Wharton.

And Wharton stressed the majority of pot costs will come at the
provincial level.

"The reality is the provinces and territories will bear the majority
of costs associated with the health, social and policing implications
of legalized cannabis, including establishing the regulatory and
distribution system," he wrote.

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Question: The provincial government will soon be receiving new revenues 
from the legalization of marijuana. There is some debate over where this 
new money should be spent. Municipalities have asked for a share of the 
revenue from marijuana sales to offset policing costs. In your view, how 
much, if any, of the revenue from marijuana should be earmarked for 

All of it - 10%

Most of it - 16%

About half - 33%

Less than half - 19%

None - 5%

Unsure - 16%

Probe says its telephone survey of 1,000 randomly selected Manitoba
adults was completed between Nov. 23 and Dec. 14. It's considered
accurate with 95% certainty, within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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MAP posted-by: Matt