Saskatchewan

Legal cannabis will cost Regina police more than $1M a year, report says

A new report headed to city hall next week says cannabis legalization will cost the Regina Police Service between $1.2 million and $1.8 million every year.

Estimates range between $1.2M and $1.8M annually, or 2.2% of budget

The city's executive committee will discuss what changes need to happen in order for the city to be ready for cannabis legalization. (Erik White/CBC )

Cannabis legalization will cost the Regina Police Service more than a million dollars a year, according to a new report headed to city hall next week. 

The report, to be discussed by council's executive committee, recommends city staff start making necessary regulatory and bylaw changes to ensure the city is ready for legal cannabis, from drafting new zoning regulations to creating options for doling out business licences to pot shops.

It also recommends city council OK the plan for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority to issue six licenses to private pot retailers ahead of the opt-out deadline at the end of the month.

As well, it directs Mayor Michael Fougere to pen a letter to Premier Scott Moe, requesting one-third of the province's cannabis revenue be given to the city. 

The federal government has said it plans to legalize recreational marijuana by summer 2018. Recently, the provincial government unveiled some of its plan for the sale and distribution of pot. 

"With the anticipated introduction of the legalization of cannabis legislation, the [Regina Police Service] has been working proactively to forecast increased costs for the service," reads the report submitted by city manager Chris Holden and Shelia Harmatiuk, the city's senior advisor for government and Indigenous relations.

"The RPS anticipates increased expenditures in the areas of education, equipment, training, and enforcement."

For example, the report says purchasing roadside screening devices will cost $25,000 in 2018 and $50,000 for future years. 

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray

4 years ago
Duration 1:49
The Regina police are getting cheers and jeers for saying there may be a crack down on the city's illegal pot dispensaries. 1:49

The report explains police forces across Canada are trying to calculate how much legalization will cost in hard numbers, taking into account the expense of training officers, buying roadside screening devices to nab impaired drivers and dedicating investigative resources for cannabis-related crimes. 

"Following the model that other police agencies are forecasting, RPS anticipates additional expenses in the first year to be between 1.6 per cent and 2.2 per cent of our net operating budget. This estimate of costs would be between $1.2 and $1.8 million annually," the report says.

It will be presented to the executive committee next Wednesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Taylor

Reporter, CBC Saskatchewan

Stephanie Taylor is a reporter based in Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC News in Regina, she covered municipal politics in her hometown of Winnipeg and in Halifax. Reach her at stephanie.taylor@cbc.ca

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