Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, outgoing president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, speaks to the video-conference session on member resolutions for the provincial government, Victoria, Sept. 23, 2020. (UBCM)

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

B.C. local government leaders have voted almost unanimously at their annual convention to call on the province to start sharing legal cannabis revenues with them, as Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have done.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, outgoing president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, was visibly frustrated as she introduced the executive’s now-annual resolution on cannabis revenue sharing. She cited sales and tax figures that show B.C. is reaping millions from its monopoly wholesale and tax revenues as cannabis stores continue to open in communities around the province.

The latest data suggest previous claims by Finance Minister Carole James that B.C. is still losing money on legal cannabis due to its regulatory and enforcement costs are out of date.

“Notably, during the most recent fiscal year, the province collected $14.4 million in excise tax revenue, more than double its projection,” Tait told delegates at the convention Sept. 23. “This current fiscal year, the province expects to collect more than $90 million in revenue from the excise tax, and the additional 15 per cent [wholesale] markup as it applies to cannabis. If this continues, the province’s cannabis-related revenue will exceed costs by a large margin.

“This is the fifth year in a row that our membership has considered this resolution, looking for an equitable share of the revenue. It’s time for them to show us the money.”

The 99-per-cent vote in favour was cast by phone or online, as the convention is being broadcast from an almost empty Victoria Conference Centre due to COVID-19 restrictions. B.C. cabinet ministers would normally be hosting hundreds of meetings with local mayors and councillors to hear their concerns directly, but that was abandoned as NDP leader John Horgan called a surprise election on Monday as the convention got underway.

RELATED: Cannabis retailers call for change in B.C. legal sales

RELATED: ‘B.C. Bud’ still underground, Horgan hopes to save it

Tait noted that Ontario has already provided $40 million to local governments, which are dealing with declining business taxes, transit fare revenues and other impacts of the pandemic.

“In B.C., UBCM’s request to negotiate a revenue sharing agreement has been repeatedly declined,” Tait said. “We were asked to prove our costs, so last year we administered a survey to quantify local costs. Survey data, when extrapolated, showed an expected $11.5 million per year in local government incremental costs for the first three years following cannabis legalization.”

Those costs include cannabis enforcement by police and bylaw officers, land use planning, licensing and other duties.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicscannabisUBCM

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grace and her daughter Helen enjoyed one of the story walks put on by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy. Photo: Submitted
Castlegar literacy programs going strong

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy is still offering services throughout the West Kootenay.

A view of proposed seniors housing on Vernon St. Illustration: City of Nelson/ Vendure Retirement Communities
Nelson seniors housing project to start construction in the spring

Private development on Vernon Street will provide assisted living services as well as housing

The fundraiser is anticipated to occur again next year. Photo: Deb Penner
Castlegar Blue Barn Pet staff raise $15,579 for charities

Staff decided to hold fundraiser after they had to cancel their pet festival this fall

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Most Read