Local Governments Support UBCM Cannabis Sharing Proposal to B.C. Government

Wendy Booth, UBCM President and RDEK Vice Chair (Courtesy: Union of B.C. Municipalities)

Representatives from local governments across the province "overwhelmingly support" the Union of B.C. Municipalities' (UBCM) cannabis sharing resolution, asking the B.C. Government for 40 percent of its eventual marijuana tax revenue.

For over a year the UBCM has been working with the B.C. Government on behalf of local governments to come up with a framework for the legalization of cannabis in British Columbia, with recreational marijuana set to be fully legalized across Canada on October 17th, 2018.

"We've done a lot of work and it's been very productive and a good process," said Wendy Booth, President of UBCM and Vice Chair of the Regional District of East Kootenay. "The last remaining piece that we haven't landed on is the revenue sharing for the taxes from the sales of cannabis."

On Thursday, Booth told Summit 107 that she visited with Carole James, B.C. Minister of Finance to further discuss the resolution which UBCM members voted to support.

As the resolution stood, local governments approved the resolution which is now seeking a 40 percent share of all marijuana tax revenue that the B.C. Government will collect once cannabis is legalized in October. The proposed revenue sharing agreement would see local governments receive 40 percent of an estimated $120 million in the first two years of legalization, which works out to about $50 million.

"They know what our position is and their take on it at the moment is they need to do some number crunching but they do recognize that there are impacts to local government," Booth told Summit 107. "We have consistently said that we do not want the legalization of the cannabis to end up in property tax increases for local governments across the province."

Although cannabis legalization is just around the corner, Booth said there isn't an immediate rush to get an agreement signed with the B.C. Government as it will still take a while for the system to iron itself out.

"It's going to take a while for the rollout to come so it's going to take a while to see the revenue as well. We're not on a really tight timeline to come to an agreement but I think we have a good starting point that we've presented to the government and they have made that commitment to work with us to find an agreement."

The UBCM Convention wraps up from Whistler on Friday.

- Bradley Jones

Audio: Wendy Booth, UBCM President

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