North Battleford City Hall is concerned about the costs associated with cannabis sales if the city decides to allow for retailing, following the province’s announcement the city is entitled to two permits for retail outlets in the city.
Mayor Ryan Bater discussed the issue at council’s meeting on Monday night.
"There will obviously be new laws to enforce, not just related to the public consumption of recreational cannabis."
The mayor said there are traffic laws as well as home production laws to enforce too, and as a result this will require additional resources for policing.
"That's going to cost money," said the mayor. "It’s appropriate we feel that the taxation revenue collected from the sale of this activity be remitted to municipalities to help with that policing cost."
He said he is interested in seeing how revenue generated from cannabis sales will benefit the city.
"What was missing from this [provincial announcement] today was the taxation revenue sharing with municipalities," he said.
Bater said if council chooses to proceed with cannabis retailing in North Battleford then the city has to amend its zoning bylaw to allow for the sales — either as a discretionary use or as a permitted use — within whatever zone in the city that council believes is appropriate.
He added the role of council is to "engage the public, hear from the public and make sure their views are represented,” when making any decisions on the matter.
Local governments decide
At the next meeting, council will make a decision whether to go ahead with allowing cannabis retailing, or to prohibit it.
"The correspondence I received indicated the province saw value in local governments being able to set local priorities," said Bater. "If the prohibition of cannabis is one of those, then local governments have that option."
"Council has to consider all options," Bater added. "That's part of our responsibility — making decisions on behalf of the public of North Battleford."
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