Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2018
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 The London Free Press
Author: Megan Stacey
Page: A2


The haze around pot revenue for cities is beginning to clear, but one
Southwestern Ontario mayor doesn't like what he's seeing.

Municipalities are no longer in the dark about the dollars they'll get
to deal with the rollout of legalized marijuana, after the province
announced Friday that $40 million from the tax on legalized marijuana
will flow to cities in the next two years.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the numbers don't add up, pointing to
the 444 municipalities in Ontario that have to share that cash.

"The headline looks good, but when you do the math, it's very little,"
he said. "You wonder, what were they smoking?"

The July 1 deadline for legalization of recreational marijuana is
looming, with 40 cities - including London - set to get a pot shop.
Those retail locations, and an online store, will be part of an agency
called the Ontario Cannabis Store.

Even municipalities that aren't getting a pot shop will get a cut of
the tax revenue - a minimum of $10,000. The $40 million will be split
proportionally among municipalities based on number of households.

The provincial government also committed to paying for police
training, specifically around drug-impaired driving. Ontario plans to
set up its own kind of pot police, called the Cannabis Intelligence
Co-ordination Centre, to crack down on illegal dispensaries.

"This funding will ensure that Ontario's municipalities have dedicated
resources for cannabis enforcement," Community Safety Minister
Marie-France Lalonde said in a release.

"Ontario will continue working with law enforcement agencies to
protect our communities from illegal cannabis activity, and to keep
impaired drivers off the road."

The province expects to get a $100-million cut from the marijuana
excise tax revenue in the first two years.

Lynn Dollin, president of the Association of Municipalities of
Ontario, said all the numbers are guesses at this point.

"Is it enough? Time will tell," she said. "This is uncharted

After the first two years, the federal and provincial governments will
hammer out a new agreement. The numbers

Excise tax: $1 per gram

Federal cut: 25% of tax revenue, capped at $100 million

Provincial and territorial cut: 75% of tax revenue

Ontario's take: $100 million, any extra is split 50/50 with the

Municipal take: $40 million, plus 50% of any provincial revenue over
$100 million
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MAP posted-by: Matt