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Public safety focus of cannabis retailer fees

A new policy will see fees for cannabis retailers going into public safety. On Monday, city council was presented with a cannabis fee policy that will dictate how the money collected through business licence fees for cannabis retailers is managed.

“We identified public safety as the first priority for that money,” says Mayor Gerald Aalbers. “That could be paying for the equipment, could be paying for the additional costs of policing.”

In June, the city approved an additional $1500 business licence fee for retailers selling marijuana. Aalbers says down the road the money could be used for different programs similar to anti-tobacco programs that are funded by tobacco retailers.

“Right now cannabis is a direct cost to the city taxpayer by providing equipment to the RCMP by contract we have to buy to put into their cars. The number that was quoted today was approximately $8,000 per unit to determine if someone is under the influence of cannabis.”

Aalbers says the city is waiting on the provincial governments to offer a share of the 75 per cent that they’re receiving from the federal government.

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The city has already approved their cannabis bylaws. Aalbers says we’re in pretty good shape for when cannabis becomes legalized.

“I believe that our policies and our bylaws are in place. They’ve been run through legal so we feel very comfortable that they are strong enough to withstand if someone feels that they want to challenge us in court.”

The cannabis fee policy will be brought back to council for final approval.

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