Cannabis retailer fees will be going towards public safety and policing costs. On Monday, City council gave final approval on a cannabis fee policy that will dictate where money collected will go.
In June, the city approved an additional $1500 business licence fee for retailers selling marijuana. Mayor Aalbers believes that the new policy gives a clear indication that this isn’t city tax grab.
“I want people to understand that the money will be used for the protection and the safety of the community, first of all. Once that, option b is to move it to promote anti-cannabis use.”
Fees will be redirected towards offsetting policing and public safety costs associated with cannabis, capital equipment purchases relating to cannabis and all remaining funds will go towards community groups. Aalbers says a big concern with the legalization of cannabis is policing.
“We have officers who have received the training they need but this is just a challenge because there is not the equipment that should be out there. We have breathalyzers to determine alcohol levels but we don’t have the ability to deal with cannabis directly. I’m sure the court system will be challenged.”
The Government of Alberta has offered up $11.2 million over two years to municipalities in the province, which Aalbers says isn’t enough. The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association was seeking $30 million for administrative and enforcement costs plus a share of revenues.
“We will be more than glad to share our costs with AUMA who will be lobbying to show the Provincial Government that it has costs on municipalities throughout Alberta a lot more than $11.2 million.”