Marijuana high on the agenda at B.C. municipalities' convention
Municipal leaders will debate several pot related resolutions at the annual UBCM gathering in Victoria
Local government leaders will spend a lot of time talking about marijuana this week at their annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria.
With the federal government looking to legalize the recreational use of marijuana sometime next year, up to four resolutions dealing with pot will be discussed.
One asks senior levels of government to consult with their local counterparts when coming up with new regulations for legalized marijuana.
It's being brought forward by the City of Nelson, "because local communities will be bearing the responsibility of how this all works out when the product is legalized," said Nelson mayor, Deb Kozak.
Once the new marijuana laws are in place it will largely up to local police to enforce them. Municipalities may also be responsible for deciding where and how marijuana dispensaries operate.
Another priority resolution dealing with pot is being brought forward by the City of Duncan.
It asks senior governments to share tax revenue from legalized marijuana with municipalities.
Duncan Mayor Phil Kent, said the new regulations will likely mean increased costs for local governments.
However, Kent admitted that exactly what costs local governments might have to bear are still unknown.
"We're still in a bit of a vacuum with respect to the statutes that the federal government might be put in place," he said, which is why the resolution asks to have the tax sharing concept forwarded to a task force looking into the new system of marijuana sales and distribution.
- Green thumbs-up for Victoria's pot dispensary rules
- Vancouver Cannabis expo shows breadth, growth of Canadian marijuana industry
- Marijuana legalization in Canada: What we know and don't know
Duncan's tax resolution is similar to two other lower-priority resolutions that may be debated later at the convention if time permits. Those are being brought forward by the City of Prince George and the City of Nelson respectively.
Watching the U.S.
Kozak said local governments in B.C. have been watching what's happening in U.S. states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
"There is a tremendous amount of money that is being brought in through taxation and it would be very well used at the local government level, not only at assisting with local police forces but also with services that communities provide everyday," she said.
Kozak is confident UBCM delegates will pass any revenue sharing resolutions that come up for debate.
"I don't think there is any local government that doesn't see the common sense in this," she said.