Saskatchewan hometowns are calling on the provincial government to meet federal expectations and recognize the responsibilities municipalities have in cannabis legalization by sharing a portion of cannabis excise tax revenues.
In the last month, nearly 50 Saskatchewan hometowns have sent a letter to Saskatchewan’s Minister of Finance recognizing that municipalities value a respectful, government-to government relationship between provincial and local governments, and that sharing cannabis excise tax revenues honours that relationship and acknowledges the responsibilities hometowns have in legalization.
“As the order of government closest to daily lives, local governments are on the front lines of cannabis legalization, developing and enforcing rules around cannabis production, sales, and consumption,” said Gordon Barnhart, President of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA). “Providing hometowns with a portion of cannabis excise tax revenues, as expected by the federal government, recognizes these responsibilities and helps cover the local costs related to legalization.”
The 2018 federal budget recognized that the additional tax revenues provided to provinces and territories, who are receiving 75 per cent of cannabis excise tax revenues instead of the 50 per cent originally anticipated, was supposed to be transferred to municipalities and local communities. Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau reiterated that intention in a letter to SUMA on May 21, recognizing the federal government was willing to accept a smaller share of cannabis duty revenues to ensure that provinces and territories would have additional funds to provide to municipalities and local communities to address cannabis related responsibilities.
During the month of May, President Barnhart met with Saskatchewan Party MLAs and the Saskatchewan NDP caucus to speak about the importance of sharing cannabis excise tax revenues with Saskatchewan communities. SUMA’s Executive Committee also met with Minister Bernadette Jordan, the Minister of Rural Economic Development, to discuss topics important to Saskatchewan hometowns, including cannabis excise tax revenues.