Union of BC Municipalities unanimously passes two cannabis-related resolutions

Resolutions asking for more local control in the decision making process and tax revenue stream for legal cannabis were passed at the UBCM convention

The Union of BC Municipalities unanimously passed two cannabis-related resolutions today at their annual convention in Victoria. The UBCM's convention is all this week in Victoria, BC, with politicians from across the province meeting to discuss numerous issues impacting their communities.

The first, endorsed by the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments, the city of Nelson, BC, requested the provincial government include the UBCM “in the process of legalization of marijuana as a representative for local government, and call on pertinent parties to include local government consultation and ensure adequate time to align and integrate regional and local regulations and practices with new federal laws.”

The resolution notes that municipalities are seeking “adequate time to align and integrate regional and local regulations and practices with new federal laws when they are enacted.”

Endorsed by the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and the UBCM Resolutions Committee, the Vancouver Island town of Duncan has also submitted a resolution entitled “Marijuana Sales and Distribution Tax Sharing for Duncan Local Governments” that argues that regulation and enforcement of legal marijuana will ultimately fall on the local governments, and so the federal government should set aside any future revenue from taxes collected to be shared with with local governments.

The resolution also makes specific reference to municipal regulation of ‘medical marijuana dispensaries’, which numerous BC communities have begun regulating, or at least discussing regulations. The resolution also notes that the UBCM has in the past endorsed similar resolutions on the question of marijuana regulations. Resolution 2015-B98 asserted that local governments held the authority to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as 2012-A5, which requested that the federal government decriminalize, regulate and tax marijuana.

Four separate resolutions filed by three BC municipalities looked at issues surrounding taxation, regulation, and resource distribution for municipalities. Two made it to the floor for discussion.

Some municipalities also took part in a breakaway session yesterday looking at how different BC towns and cities have responded to dispensaries in their communities. While some cities have sought to establish regulations for dispensaries, others are waiting and looking to the federal government for guidance.

The City of Prince George submitted a resolution also urging the UBCM to request distribution of future federal marijuana taxes to local municipalities dealing with regulation enforcement. The city of Nelson submitted a second resolution asking for a similar redistribution of federal funds, as well as a sharing of the savings in resources from changes in enforcement, with savings passed on to local governments to “invest in youth engagement and prevention programs and initiatives that include community partnerships with provincial and local governments”

Because both of these resolutions are similar to the first two, they will not be heard on the convention floor.

Other municipal associations in Ontario and Alberta are also formally looking into legalization and how it impacts them. In August, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) annual AGM included a presentation from Denver’s Marijuana Czar and the AMO has formed their own legalization task force.

The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) also recently released their Marijuana Production and Regulation – Municipal Resources, including both input on municipal zoning approaches for legalization, as well as their official response to the federal task force’s call for stakeholder input.

In October, the AUMA will be having their annual convention and will be discussing Municipal Implications of Impending Marijuana Legislation.

Related: Municipalities Prepare for Legalization

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