Windsor

Tecumseh mayor wants pot revenue to benefit municipalities

Making sure municipalities get their share of the cash will be an focus of several talks in Windsor next month when members of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario gather for their annual conference.

Legalizing marijuana will add challenges for police and social service groups, says AMO president

Legalizing marijuana will only add new challenges for municipalities, says Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

Cities and towns should get a piece of the billions of dollars in expected revenue once marijuana is legalized in Canada, say municipal leaders around Ontario.

A report from CIBC World Markets, released earlier this year, says Canada's federal and provincial governments could reap as much as $5 billion annually in tax revenues from the sale of legal marijuana.

Making sure municipalities get their share of the cash will be a focus of several talks in Windsor, Ont., next month when members of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario gather for their annual conference at Caesars Windsor.

Towns and cities deserve to have more funding, considering they carry the load when it comes to policing and social services, explained Gary McNamara, the mayor of Tecumseh and AMO president. 

New challenges

Legalizing marijuana will only add new challenges for municipalities, McNamara told CBC News.

"We fund the health unit, we fund policing, we fund social services, so you can see there's going to be some pressure for us to make sure the regulations are going to be followed," he said.

The federal government has promised to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana by next spring. McNamara wants municipalities to get in the game before the legislation is implemented. 

"Revenue sharing makes good sense, so we're going to make sure our counterparts at Queen's Park and certainly in Ottawa are going to hear us," he said.

The Liberal government has promised to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana and has made MP Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief, the lead on investigating a new regulatory model.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau maintains that legalized pot will not be a cash cow, and that all revenues will be used to address public health and addictions issues.

With files from Canadian Press