Article by Betsy Powell, The Toronto Star
Mayor John Tory is asking the province for a dedicated share of pot revenues — possibly through a special levy — after recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada next July 1.
While the province plans to regulate the sale of pot in an as yet-to-be determined retail distribution model, it will “be on the shoulders of municipalities,” to pick up “a big part” of the added licensing, zoning by-law enforcement and policing costs, Tory wrote in a letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“Whatever decisions are made, I have no doubt the result will be increased costs for the city of Toronto,” Tory wrote in his letter.
“As a consequence, we would want to discuss with you what the magnitude of those costs might be and reach agreement with you on both increased public health funding and a dedicated share of increased provincial revenues attributable to the sale of marijuana.”
Tory suggested city and provincial officials, who are already in discussions on the issue, explore the possibility of a special levy on pot similar to what some U.S. cities have imposed to offset increased costs.
The mayor’s letter says it is essential that municipalities be included in discussions on the rules and regulation of retailing, marijuana smoking and sales and public education.