Saskatoon

Brad Wall disagrees with mayors that pot tax revenue should go to cities

Legal pot in Saskatchewan is still a year away, but already there's disagreement between cities and the province on how the potential tax revenue should be divvied up.

Regina, Saskatoon mayors want in on revenue to pay for policing

Tenants who want to smoke marijuana should find a landlord who will allow it, says Saskatchewan's justice minister. (CBC)

Legal pot in Saskatchewan is still a year away, but already there's disagreement between cities and the province on how the potential tax revenue should be divvied up. 

While the mayors of Regina and Saskatoon say at least a portion of the tax revenue is needed to deal with additional policing costs, Premier Brad Wall says the revenues should be spent on education and preventing drug impaired driving. 

"There is a cost to all of this that comes to governments and that's what the revenue should pay for. I don't think it should be going to mayors," Wall said on CBC Radio's The Morning Edition. 

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said police will likely have to spend more money than ever on things like impaired driving technologies and enforcement of new laws.

Regina Mayor Michael Fougere agreed, saying while it's still unclear how legal pot will be sold in Saskatchewan, there will be additional costs. He said  "revenue that is generated from the sale of marijuana should go to those orders of government — municipalities — that deal with implementation and enforcement of the new laws."

Wall wary on over-taxing pot 

In a written statement, the provincial government said it's still too early to say when provincial legislation will be in place. The government has created a working group that will eventually help draft legislation.

The government statement also said officials are working to "identify areas of concern" with the timelines the federal government has set forward. 
Premier Brad Wall says 'This better not be about money.' (Mark Taylor/Canadian Press)

Wall said his government will need to be careful when deciding how to tax pot. He said the cost of legal pot needs to be competitive with the black market.

"This better not be about money. It really shouldn't be. The premiers and the federal government have said if the point of this is to remove organized crime from the scenario, we better be careful what governments do on the tax side to price," Wall said. 

A report by the C.D. Howe Institute released this spring found that marijuana should not be be taxed beyond the current tax rates in Saskatchewan if the black market is to be kept in check. 

Premiers want to delay pot legalization 

Premiers announced this week in Edmonton they will ask the federal government to postpone its plan to legalize marijuana if issues related to road safety, taxation, training for distributors and public education aren't addressed.

Premiers also have outstanding concerns about supply and demand, and addressing the black market for cannabis.

Just minutes after the premiers released a document detailing the potential request for an extension, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government intends to stick to its timeframe.


with files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition and Kathleen Harris

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