Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jan 2018
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Greg Duncan
Page: D15


Quebec municipalities seek piece of 'pot pie' as legalization creates
potential challenges

With Canada's legalization of cannabis slated for July 2018,
municipalities in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region could find themselves
with an additional source of revenue next year. They could find
themselves with many additional expenses, too.

As Quebec puts a claim on half of potential tax revenues related to
sales, Quebec municipalities are demanding that one-third of that tax
revenue be dedicated to them. The rationale for towns asking for their
share is based on an assumption of increased costs for municipalities
for law enforcement, urban planning and court costs according to the
Union of Quebec Municipalities (UQM).

What impact will cannabis legislation have on your Off-Island town
starting next July? Will new revenues offset any related additional
expenses related to legislation, or will green become the new gold for
your town?

Beyond a covering of expenses, what should your town do with any new
monies should revenues exceed expenses? The proper management of
municipal budgets is always a balancing act for councils and employees
charged with appropriate and responsible administration. Given the
timeline, are our local governments adequately prepared for next
summer's legalization?

As residents and taxpayers, are we prepared to help guide and monitor
as councils take on new responsibilities related to legal cannabis

Financial impacts aside, what other real and up-close issues will
arise as a result of legalization? If you are a landlord or a tenant
in an Off-Island town, will the legal right to light up create any new
issues? Will consumption be allowed in municipal parks and in public
areas? While areas prohibiting smoking are already designated and
indicated in most places, will specific cannabis rules apply to those
areas? If you are a local employer, how will you adjust as it relates
to your employees? Will that smoke break now take on a whole new
meaning? And what about growing your own? Can your town implement its
own bylaws that might allow it, even if a province does not? Will you
care if cannabis plants suddenly appear in yards, flower beds and
balconies on your street?

As it rolls along rapidly, cannabis legalization leaves (pardon the
pun) most of us wondering just how it will impact us.
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