BC Cities Want Cut of Cannabis Taxes

Several BC cities are pushing for municipalities to receive a cut of taxes from legalized cannabis at September’s meeting of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

Prince George, Duncan and Nelson have submitted resolutions for debate looking for cash from the federal government to pay for local services off of cannabis sales.

UBCM president Al Richmond said no other province in Canada is currently looking at the emerging issue of cannabis taxation for municipalities.

Richmond said cities are currently dependent on property-tax to pay for things like police, education and infrastructure and want to diversify how they can collect money.

Nelson mayor Deb Kozak said money from cannabis could be put to education or health services.

“That money could be well used in serving communities,” she said.

Prince George mayor Lyn Hall said cannabis taxes would go back to cities the same way fuel taxes are divided.

“If, in fact, laws change around marijuana and there’s an opportunity for a taxation base to be built into that, I think we would view it similarly to how we view the current gas tax and it goes to various things in our community like many others. It could be infrastructure, roads, sidewalks,” Hall said.

Hall said drafting resolutions for the UBCM meeting this fall will offer a great opportunity to discuss cannabis taxation with the attendance of members of parliament.

“I am optimistic about it. The timing couldn’t be better,” Hall said.

Vancouver city councillor and former Federation of Canadian Municipalities president Raymond Louie said it’s likely that cities will share in the taxation of cannabis.

“If the federal government improves their revenue position through taxation on marijuana, I would expect that they would be able to better respond to our local government needs,” Louie said.

The Union of British Columbia Municipalities meet Sept. 26 – 30 in Victoria.