Town wants share of cannabis tax pie

Town wants share of cannabis tax pie

The Town of Oliver wants to ensure it gets a piece of the cannabis tax pie when marijuana is legalized this year. (File photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

The Town of Oliver wants a piece of the cannabis tax pie when the federal and provincial governments start slicing it up this summer.

On Monday, council agreed to write a letter of support after the city of West Kelowna requested that Oliver lobby the province for a 50 per cent share of the cannabis tax formula.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said since cannabis sales will become legal this year, there must be a formal agreement that will divide the tax revenue in a fair and equitable manner.

Findlater said current discussions regarding revenue sharing does not include local governments.

“Ultimately, the legalization will entail additional costs for local governments both in social and policing costs,” he said in correspondence with the Town of Oliver.

Findlater said the impact from cannabis sales could affect law enforcement, fire services, building codes, licensing, public health and social services.

The mayor said 50 per cent is an adequate share to help support costs incurred by local governments.

But the Town of Oliver wants 75 per cent.

“Responsibility rolls down hill, and we are at the bottom of the hill,” said Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger.

He stated if the province is negotiating 75 per cent, municipalities should get the same.

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes piped up jokingly, “We’re gonna be rich!”