Council asked to support West Kelowna cannabis tax revenue effort

Osoyoos Council will get another look at cannabis sales Monday as it reviews a letter from an Okanagan mayor to ponder a division of tax revenue on local sales.

The letter, from District of West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater, suggests local governments should lobby for 50 percent of the provincial share of the cannabis tax sharing formula negotiated with Ottawa.

“Current discussions regarding revenue sharing involve the Federal and Provincial governments with no inclusion of local governments,” Mayor Findlater writes.

“With cannabis sales becoming legal in 2018, there must be a formal agreement that will divide the tax revenue on cannabis sales in a fair and equitable manner.”

Mayor Findlater points to a Federation of Canadian Municipalities paper that suggests local governments will incur costs for “policing, fire services, building codes, city planning, municipal licensing and standards, public health, social services, communications,
law, etc.”

The District is asking Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff and her councilors to write to the Province to lobby for a share of the cannabis tax sharing formula be provided to local governments.

“This is an adequate and equitable share to help support costs and services incurred by local governments,” the letter concludes.

Mayor Findlater’s letter is expected to be discussed at Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting Monday morning.

In August 2016, Council approved a bylaw that made it illegal to cultivate, grow, harvest, process, package, store, distribute, dispense, trade or sell marijuana anywhere in the Town of Osoyoos.

The bylaw anticipated a federal government decision “liberalizing medical marijuana regulations that could legalize retail outlets for sales to medical recipients” and a “broader legalization of marijuana for recreational users.”

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