Article by John Rieti, CBC News
Mayor John Tory doesn’t expect a “special levy” on legal marijuana sales will allow Toronto to smoke its way to paying for subways or social housing repairs, but he’s still pursuing one.
And while one insider expects Tory will get what he wants, at least one councillor has criticized the move, suggesting the city should be doing more consultation work before getting into conversations with the province.
Earlier this week, Tory wrote a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne calling for a levy to help pay for city costs he’s predicting will increase once weed becomes legal next summer — spanning everything from law enforcement to public health to property zoning work.
Tory says he expects that if the province takes in money — perhaps by applying HST to pot sales — the city will get a cut. He calls it “a matter of fairness.”
The federal government plans to legalize marijuana by next Canada Day, if not before. But it will be up to the province to determine who can buy it, and how and where the drug is sold.
Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi’s office is holding public consultations about what the legal weed landscape should look like, including whether or not it should be sold at LCBO outlets.
Tory says he wants the city to have a “seat at the table” in those discussions.
However, given the province’s rejection of road tolls and, in a closer parallel, its refusal to allow Toronto to charge a local alcohol tax, he says he’s not expecting marijuana’s legalization to be a windfall for the city.