Port Hardy council received a letter from West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater, requesting support in the fight for local governments to receive a share of tax revenue from the sale of marijuana.
“With cannabis sales becoming legal in 2018, there must be a formal agreement that will divide the tax revenue on cannabis sales in a fair and equitable manner,” wrote Findlater. “Current discussions regarding revenue sharing involve the federal and provincial governments with no inclusion of local governments. Ultimately, the legalization will entail additional costs for local governments both in social and policing costs.”
According to Findlater, a Federation of Canadian Municipalities paper states that the impact may affect policing, fire services, building codes, city planning, municipal licensing and standards, public health, social services, communications, law, etc.
“City of West Kelowna Mayor and Council is requesting your support, by writing to the Province to lobby them to agree to 50 per cent of the provincial share of the cannabis tax sharing formula be provided to local governments,” Findlater wrote, adding, “This is an adequate and equitable share to help support costs and services incurred by local governments.”
“Any comments councillors?” asked Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood.
“I think they’re going to keep it all,” laughed Coun. Rick Marcotte.
“We should write a letter of support,” added Coun. Pat Corbett-Labatt.
Coun. John Tidbury stated the tax sharing idea “is alright for big communities where they have lots of people and the tax revenue will be beneficial to them, but where we have a problem is we have a population under 5,000 people, so we wouldn’t get the same tax revenue as the bigger communities would get. By saying that, if it went into a provincial pot, we’d get a section of it that is equally divided amongst all the communities, and that would be to our benefit.”
“That’s a good concept, but I don’t think it’s going to happen,” replied Coun. Dennis Dugas. “I think what could happen is something like they do for the gas tax, the way they have it set up in regards for population and distribute it that way, but as far as splitting it equally for everybody, that ain’t gonna happen.”
Bood asked Coun. Leightan Wishart, who is on the district’s marijuana committee, if they could look into the tax revenue sharing issue.
“We can do that,” replied Wishart.
Council agreed to write to the Provincial Government requesting 50 per cent of the provincial share of the cannabis tax sharing formula be provided to local governments, and also agreed to draft a resolution for the AVICC / UBCM, regarding 50 per cent of provincial share of cannabis tax sharing formula to local governments for the Cannabis Advisory Planning Committee and council to review.