Province not sharing federal cannabis excise tax revenue with cities

HUMBOLDT — The provincial government is telling cities it won’t directly share the federal excise tax revenue from the sale of cannabis.

Humboldt was one of the province’s communities that sent a letter to the provincial government written by the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association asking for a 33 per cent share of the excise tax revenue. The letter said the Federation of Canadian Municipalities estimated that communities could face additional annual costs related to cannabis of $9.50 per resident.

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Donna Harpauer, the province’s finance minister, sent the city a letter in response, saying that such a side deal would be counter to efforts to provide communities with a predictable revenue sharing formula, and that no province was sharing the excise tax revenues.

“I think this letter-writing campaign we did, on behalf of all the municipalities, was something that is needed to be done,” said Rob Muench, Humboldt’s mayor.

"We are going to keep looking for some of that money at some point, whether it's through our regular funding we get from the government or whether it's a separate thing, but the cost of most of the policing and that type of thing is borne by the municipalities.”

Harpauer’s letter said communities could use business licence fees aimed at the cannabis retail sector to pay for their increased costs.

“We did consider it, but we've decided to just put it through as a regular business, because where do you draw the line with that?” said Muench, adding that liquor stores and bars also require more policing.

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