Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2018
Source: Sault Star, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 The Sault Star
Author: Elaine Della-Mattia
Page: A1


The provincial government will provide $40 million of its revenue from
the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over two years to
help municipalities with the costs of implementing

But municipalities have not yet received any more information about
what that will mean exactly.

The province has said that funding will be distributed to
municipalities on a per household basis with a minimum of $10,000 per

"We know municipalities will play a key role as the federal government
moves forward with the legalization of recreational cannabis. This is
why we engaged with municipalities early I the process," said Minister
of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro. "Our government respects the role of
municipalities in the legalization of cannabis and we know we can rely
on their valuable input as we continue to navigate this process together."

In addition to the money for municipalities, the province has also
said it will increase the number of local law enforcement, including
the OPP, by funding sobriety field test training for police to help
detect impaired drivers.

It will also hire staff at the Centre of Forensic Sciences to support
toxicology testing, develop programming to divert youth away from the
criminal justice system for minor cannabis-related offences and
coordinate the shutdown of illegal storefronts.

Public health units will receive support and resources to address
cannabis legislation and raise community awareness.

Late last year Sault Ste. Marie was identified as one of the first 14
designations across Ontario to have a cannabis site. A yet-to-be-named
location is scheduled to open in July 2018. That list has since grown
to about 40 stand-alone marijuana retail stores.

The city has provided the provincial government with an inventory of
potential properties - zoned to accommodate the commercial outlet --
based on criteria provided by the province that could be available.
The Ontario government will ultimately determine where a cannabis
retail store will be located in Sault Ste. Marie.

The city has no other specific duties that need to be completed for
the province or the store. The Ontario government has said that the
recreational pot will be sold behind counters, a similar operation to
a pharmacy. The product will only be sold to individuals over the age
of 19, similar to beer and liquor and that all employees of the store
will receive proper training.

Home-grown pot will be allowed but restricted to private homes and
only up to four cannabis plants can be cultivated for personal use.

Cannabis products to be sold under the proposed federal law include
dried and fresh cannabis, cannabis oil and cannabis

It will still be illegal to smoke pot in public places, workplaces,
vehicles and boats. Legislation is being tightened to ensure that
motorists are not under the influence of marijuana, similar to
drinking and driving laws.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has taken the position
that an increase in demand for services such as policing, by-law
enforcement, public health and even fire inspections will be felt by
municipal governments. They argue municipal taxpayers should not pay
for any part of the federal and provincial legalization framework and
that costs should be borne by the senior governments.

Minister of Finance Charles Sousa said the $40 million commitment was
developed in partnership with AMO and the City of Toronto.

AMO has said that the impacts and costs of the legislation are not
truly known yet but they will continue to be monitored.

"In the short term, this funding will help pay municipal costs and
this is critically important. Keeping municipal governments whole is
our goal. As well, AMO's Board believes there is a future case to be
made for this new federal and provincial revenue source to support
broader community benefits," AMO's website states.
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