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Mayor Nenshi wants Calgary to get a proper cut of the profits of pot sales
Published Saturday, December 9, 2017 12:31PM MST
Last Updated Saturday, December 9, 2017 12:41PM MST
The legalization of marijuana, scheduled for July 1, 2018, is expected to be a huge revenue windfall for the Canadian government and Calgary’s maeyor wants to make sure that the city gets its fair share.
Ottawa expects to make a billion dollars taxing sales of legal marijuana and Nenshi says every city deserves to have a part of that profit.
“We need a share of the excise tax on cannabis to help us just pay for our cost. It’s not a revenue windfall for us. There are things like bylaw inspectors, zoning, building inspections, enforcing the rules around public consumption and so on. There’s lots of stuff in there.”
The Trudeau government has hinted that half the money would go to the provinces, but Nenshi says cities need to have a cash commitment.
Archie Kaiser, a law professor with Dalhousie University, says that legalizing pot shouldn’t be about maximizing profits.
“That could cause you to sacrifice other important public services like protection of youth, promotion of health and public safety.”
April Row, who works at Hemporium on 17 Avenue S.W., says she isn’t sure if the store will end up selling cannabis but she does know that Calgarians will be glad to have options.
“I’m looking forward to it being more open like a liquor store where you can go in and open it up like in British Columbia you can smell it, touch it. In a liquor store you can ask ‘can I have a taste of this?”. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Pot is expected to be legally available in Calgary on July 1.
(With files from Chris Epp)