The Union of B.C. Municipalities is asking the provincial government to provide local governments with a 40 per cent of marijuana tax revenues when the drug becomes legal next month.
A resolution has been tabled by the advocacy group asking for municipalities to receive $50 million of the projected $125 million revenue of the provincial cannabis excise tax for the first two years of legalization.
Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang, a joint provincial-local government committee co-chair on marijuana regulation says cities face added costs when non-medical cannabis becomes legal Oct. 17.
Those increases include policing, administrative and staffing costs related to enforcement and zoning.
Jang says local governments will want the money up front to avoid trying to find other sources of funding, like boosting property taxes.
City council representatives in B.C. will vote on the special resolution next week during the union’s annual convention.
The resolution suggests any added revenue to what the province has projected be split evenly among provincial municipalities.
The B.C. finance ministry said in a statement the province will take on the majority of the costs involved with legalizing marijuana and does not expect substantial revenue in the near future.
What the union is asking for is similar to what Ontario has promised its local governments, by providing 40 per cent of its projected share of federal marijuana taxes to its municipalities.
The federal government said it is up to the provinces and territories to decide how much revenue to give local governments.
In December, Ottawa agreed to give 75 per cent of revenue from its marijuana excise tax to the provinces and territories for two years.
The federal government’s portion is capped at $100 million.
With files from the Canadian Press.