Municipalities push for cannabis cash

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Alberta’s rural municipalities will be calling on the provincial government to provide local governments with a fair share of tax revenues coming from legalized cannabis.

“Our job now will be to sit down with the province and talk about how municipalities will be part of the solution and how the funding process will take place,” said Al Kemmere, a Mountain View County councillor and the president of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC).

“We will be working with the province on that. That will be where we will focus our efforts because municipalities are part of this process and we don’t want municipalities ending up shouldering a disproportionate amount of the costs.”

The federal and provincial governments have come to a 75-25 tax revenue sharing arrangement, with the provinces getting the larger portion of the cash coming from pot sales.

Each province can decide how to spend its respective share of the tax funds.

Municipalities expect to incur new costs associated with legalization and will want some of the tax revenue to help cover those costs, said Kemmere.

“A lot of these production facilities will be located in municipalities,” he said. “We can see many of our rural municipalities being the places where these growing operations will take place and the dispensaries coming in the future will be part of the municipal jurisdictions as far as bylaws go.

“There will be a lot of regulatory stuff that the municipalities will be expected to take on and you don’t do that for nothing. It takes staff time, and it will also take time in the future from our bylaw people to make sure our bylaws are being adhered to and properly developed in the first place.”

The AAMDC represents 69 rural municipalities, including Mountain View and Red Deer counties.

“We don’t want municipalities ending up shouldering a disproportionate amount of the costs.”Al KemmereAAMDC president

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Dan Singleton

Dan Singleton is the editor of the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 1994. He covers news, municipal politics and community events in Mountain View County. He is also a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.