Edmonton left out of marijuana talks as Alberta rejects Ottawa's proposal

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said the city is not looking to make a profit from weed sales when marijuana is legalized July 1 but he wants to make sure costs are covered for things like extra policing and rezoning for dispensaries, areas the city will be responsible for.

'This is one of those examples where it all runs down hill to us,' Mayor Don Iveson says

Edmonton city council says it's waiting to hear more details from the provincial and federal governments about legalized marijuana. (CBC)

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says the city is not looking to make a profit from marijuana sales after pot is legalized on July 1.

But he said the city wants to make sure costs are covered for extra policing and rezoning for dispensaries, areas the city will be responsible for.

On Friday, Iveson said municipalities have largely been left out of discussions with the federal and provincial governments.

"They're sort of carving things up right now, and they say they're mindful of the impacts to municipalities," he said. "But we're not at the table.

I'm not sure what the federal government is smoking- Alberta finance minister Joe Ceci

"This is one of those examples where it all runs downhill to us."

The federal government proposed on Friday to share revenues from marijuana sales 50-50 with the provinces but left out any mention of what municipalities may get.

"I'd like this to be revenue neutral to the taxpayer," Iveson said.

He said cities have told Ottawa and the Alberta government they will need help covering extra costs.

"It would be great to have certainty ... that we know that property taxpayers won't be on the hook for the implications for the legalization." 
Mayor Don Iveson says federal and provincial governments, not taxpayers, should bear the costs of legalizing marijuana. (CBC)

Edmonton city council and staff are analyzing how much it may cost in supplemental police beats.

Alberta finance minister Joe Ceci said Friday the federal pitch to split revenues in half is unacceptable.

"I'm not sure what the federal government is smoking," he told media at press conference in Calgary. "But I can tell you this is not  going to work for Alberta."

Ceci acknowledged municipalities will need to be involved but stopped short of saying to what degree.

"I think that's all up for discussion," he said.

He argued the provinces will overwhelmingly be responsible for implementing the changes.

"We're the ones who are going to have to bear the costs and the brunt of the additional costs, whether they be policing, education, health care, all those things will be at the provincial and local levels, and not at the federal level."

The province is expected to release legislation next week outlining how it will regulate marijuana sales.

Ceci suggested the province is considering a 10-per-cent sales tax on marijuana sales in Alberta, on top of the suggested $1-per-gram federal tax. 
Alberta finance Minister Joe Ceci says most revenues from marijuana sales should go to the provinces. (CBC)

The city can't make decisions about retail licences, rezoning for dispensaries or bylaws until the province makes its legislation public.

"We will have to do something about responding and creating our bylaws around where you can consume, where you can buy," Coun. Ben Henderson told CBC News on Friday.

"That will have to be in response to what the province says."

He said there will be expenses and added expectations on the city.

"One of our worries is that all that will be downloaded to the city, without any financial mechanism to deal with it."