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Share cannabis tax revenue, UBCM tells the provincial government

“It’s time for them to show us the money"
Buying cannabis - Getty Images
Purchasing recreational cannabis. (via Getty Images)

The B.C. government should be sharing cannabis excise tax revenue with B.C.’s municipalities, Union of B.C. Municipalities voted Sept. 23.

A resolution to again approach the provincial government to share that funding to offset local costs of implementing legal cannabis laws and regulations and other costs was approved by 99 per cent.

The resolution said local governments have yet to receive a share of provincial cannabis taxation revenue, despite Ottawa’s decision to increase the provincial share of cannabis excise tax revenue by 25 per cent in recognition of the costs and responsibilities assumed by local governments.

Outgoing UBCM president Maja Tait said the government has repeatedly rejected calls to share the revenue.

“It’s time for them to show us the money,” the mayor of Sooke said.

Resolution notes said in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agreement on Cannabis Taxation (expiring December 2020), the federal government retains 25 per cent of excise tax revenue up to $100 million per year, with the remaining 75 per cent going to provinces and territories. 

“This reflects a federal share that was reduced by 25 per cent in recognition of the costs and responsibilities assumed by local governments. Provinces and territories were not required to document their cannabis-related costs and revenue streams,” the notes said. “They receive their share of federal excise tax revenue regardless.”

The notes said Ottawa declined to provide revenue to local governments directly, instead leaving that responsibility to provinces and territories to disburse federal excise tax revenue to local governments. 

“The British Columbia government has disbursed none of the federal excise tax revenue it received to B.C. local governments. Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, on the other hand, have each committed a specific portion of excise tax revenue to local governments.

“Notably, the Ontario government allocated $40 million of its projected $100 million cannabis excise tax revenue to local governments as part of a two-year agreement; with any revenue exceeding $100 million over the two-year period, to be shared 50-50 with Ontario local governments.”

Tait said the province collected $14.4 in excise tax last year and projects $90 million in 2020. She said there is a 15 per cent markup due to cannabis. @jhainswo