Pubdate: Mon, 12 Feb 2018
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2018 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Arthur White-Crummey
Page: A6


Regina hopes to get share of revenue to cover its expenses

Regina city councillors now know their options on cannabis, after
administration handed them a report on how the city can prepare for
legalization - and how much it's likely to cost police.

The Regina Police Service is pegging the added expense of policing a
legal weed system at somewhere between $1.2 million and $1.8 million.
That's only a rough guess, based on forecasts from other police forces
in Canada.

Still, the report warned that the police service "will not have the
resources to deal with all the implications of the legalization of

Administration repeated the call, frequently raised by Mayor Michael
Fougere, that Regina needs one-third of marijuana taxes to pay for
enforcement. The report recommends that Fougere write a formal letter
to Premier Scott Moe to emphasize that message.

Released on Friday, the report also recommends that council approve
the six licences the provincial government promised Regina. It said
councillors may consider a range of amendments to city bylaws -
notably on zoning and outdoor smoking - to regulate the sale and
consumption of marijuana. It said that implementing a "cannabis
framework" would require changes in several city departments.

According to administration, Regina already has most of the tools it
needs. On zoning, the report said the city could copy its existing
policy for liquor stores, with a few tweaks as needed.

That would open up three separate types of commercial zones for pot
shops - mostly downtown, in shopping centres and along some major
arteries - as well as the Tuxedo Park industrial area. Under that
model, cannabis retail stores would also be discretionary uses in
three other commercial zones, where they would require the approval of
city council.

Administration also said council could consider requirements to
separate the shops from schools, day care centres, recreational
facilities, public parks, religious institutions - and from each other
- - by a certain distance. They gave the example of adult entertainment
establishments, which must be 600 feet away from various other land

Regina's smoking bylaw, passed last year, is broad enough to regulate
marijuana without much adjustment, administration advised the
councillors. The report noted that the province already regulates
indoor smoking, and that it will likely do so for marijuana as well.
If not, the city could easily do the job.

The report provided some detail on where the expected police outlays
might come from, with most centred on the cost of policing
drug-impaired driving. Roadside screening devices are expected to cost
$50,000 annually. Officers will need to undergo training to become
drug recognition experts, it added.

Moreover, the police service expects that it will need to keep
investigating and shutting down illegal dispensaries as they pop up -
even following legalization - a problem Police Chief Evan Bray has
fought through press conferences and warnings over the past few months.

Council will consider the report at its executive committee meeting on
Feb. 14.
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