October 1, 2020

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Bowman wants city's share of certain weed-tax windfall

Premier Brian Pallister told the annual gathering of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities that there is no profit being made from cannabis sales in Manitoba. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

Premier Brian Pallister told the annual gathering of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities that there is no profit being made from cannabis sales in Manitoba. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/11/2018 (672 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Mayor Brian Bowman has joined the chorus of municipal officials who are pressing the Pallister government to share cannabis excise tax revenue.

Bowman told reporters Wednesday that taxing alcohol and tobacco is a big money-maker for the provincial and federal governments and he expects a similar windfall will be generated from the growing cannabis industry.

"There’s going to be money made by governments on pot, we all know that," Bowman said. "This new industry that is emerging and the revenues that are being created and collected by other levels of government should, at a minimum, provide municipalities to be made whole so we don’t have property taxpayers who aren’t purchasing cannabis subsidize an industry."

Pressure is mounting on the provincial government since Premier Brian Pallister on Monday informed the annual gathering of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities his government will not share pot tax revenue with municipalities, claiming he needed it all to cover related costs the province will incur and to pay down the deficit.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman expects a windfall from the cannabis industry similar to what the government makes off of alcohol and tobacco. (John Woods / The Canadian Press files)</p>

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman expects a windfall from the cannabis industry similar to what the government makes off of alcohol and tobacco. (John Woods / The Canadian Press files)

"There's no profit in cannabis," Pallister told Manitoba’s municipal officials and leaders. "And there's no proof that there's going to be profit for some time. So don't ask for a share of profits when there aren't profits."

Bowman said the federal government increased the share of tax revenue off cannabis sales from 50-50 to 75-25 in the provinces’ favour with the expectation that the additional money would be shared with municipalities.

Bowman said city officials have quantified the expected costs as a result of cannabis legalization. While it was less than the $4-million to $5-million originally estimated in the early spring, city hall said the figure could be around $1.75 million, with most of that associated with policing.

Bowman said the Pallister government hasn’t disclosed any figures on its cost expectations.

"In fairness, I think all three levels of government are going to have some costs," he said. "For anyone to suggest there is no (tax) revenues overall going to be collected…. You take a look at the experience of alcohol — governments collect a lot of money on alcohol. Take a look at tobacco – governments collect a lot of money. Cannabis will be the same."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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