Will Mississauga Benefit From Marijuana Legalization?

The Ontario and federal governments have come to an agreement about how to distribute tax revenue following the nationwide legalization of marijuana on July 1, 2018. Meanwhile, Mississauga wants in on the action.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is calling on the province to iron out a deal with municipalities, to make sure they get a cut of tax revenue following next year’s nationwide legalization of marijuana. In a press release on Monday, Crombie said:

Mississauga Council and staff are requesting that the provincial and federal governments work together to provide greater clarity on the amount of revenue that will be given to municipalities from the federal excise tax on cannabis. Cities, like Mississauga, will face cost pressures associated with the legalization of cannabis, including zoning, by-law enforcement, licencing, public health, and policing, to name a few.

To date there has not yet been a formal commitment to the amount of revenue that will be shared with municipalities. This is concerning as municipalities across Canada work to prepare for the rapidly approaching July 2018 legalization date.

Minister Morneau and Minister Sousa are meeting to discuss the issue of cannabis legalization. During these discussions, I urge the provincial and federal governments to come to an agreement that will ensure a greater share of revenue for the provinces to pass along a fair share to municipalities. I agree with the FCM position of a [one-third], federal, provincial, municipal revenue sharing model that will give municipalities our fair share.

Council and staff are committed to ensuring the responsible regulation, distribution and oversite of cannabis. We must also do everything we can to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public and especially children and young people. We will work with Peel Regional Police and front-line officers to combat any anticipated problems that will result from the sale of cannabis.

In short, she tweeted, “we want our fair share.”

That same day, the federal and provincial finance ministers reached an agreement on how they would distribute tax revenue from pot sales. According to a Ministry of Finance press release:

For the initial two years, this tax room will be shared on the following basis: 75 per cent to provincial and territorial governments; 25 per cent to the federal government. Provinces and territories will work with municipalities according to shared responsibilities towards legalization. The federal portion of cannabis excise tax revenue will be capped at $100 million annually. Any federal revenue in excess of $100 million will be provided to provinces and territories. Finance Ministers will review the implementation of the agreement at their December 2018 meeting to ensure broad objectives are being met.

On Tuesday, Ontario passed the Cannabis Act, which sets the rules and regulations for marijuana use, sale and distribution.

The legislation will create a new provincial retailer, overseen by the LCBO, with the goal of opening 40 stand-alone stores in July 2018 and 150 by 2020.

Mississauga will be home to one new Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) retail store which will open in July 2018.

The LCBO says it is “identifying specific sites for retail locations, consistent with the guidelines and other considerations discussed in engagement meetings with the identified municipalities.”

The guidelines address the key objectives in the province’s proposed framework of protecting youth, providing access within communities, and addressing the illegal market.”

Residents can find more information and submit anonymous feedback about the plans for the store through an LCBO-run website.

Your Comments