Winnipeg mayor questions premier's marijuana math, says province will make 'a lot of money' from cannabis

Mayor Brian Bowman is casting shade at Premier Brian Pallister's claim Manitoba won't make any money off cannabis.

Brian Bowman says weed sales generate government profits, just as booze and tobacco do

Winnipeg's mayor says Manitoba will make money off retail cannabis stores such as this Delta 9 outlet. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman is questioning Premier Brian Pallister's claim Manitoba won't make any money off cannabis.

On Monday, Pallister told the the Association of Manitoba Municipalities convention the province won't share cannabis excise revenue with municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg.

He then claimed cannabis sales won't have any positive impact on the provincial bottom line.

"There's no profit in cannabis and there's no proof there's going to be profit for some time, so don't ask for a share of profits when there aren't profits," Pallister said in a hallway scrum Monday at RBC Convention Centre.

Bowman tweeted his annoyance with this claim on Tuesday and followed up that sentiment Wednesday with a more detailed explanation.

"You take a look at the experience of alcohol, governments collect a lot of money on alcohol. You take a look at tobacco, governments collect a lot of money. Cannabis will be the same," Bowman said at city hall after an executive policy committee meeting.

"I don't know where the numbers will be, ultimately. Canadians will have to see," he said. "They're building schools with cannabis revenues, from what I understand, in Denver." 

The city estimates legal cannabis will result in $1.6 million worth of new annual costs. Manitoba municipalities want the provincial government to share cannabis excise tax revenues, as some other provinces do.

The province is also planning to apply a six per cent levy on cannabis retail sales, starting in January.


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