The big announcement out of the federal meeting of finance ministers this week was an agreement on how the provincial and federal governments will split revenues from the new excise tax on cannabis.
The federal government shifted from an offer of a 50-50 split to a new offer whereby 75 cents of every dollar will go to the provinces.
It is very good news,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Finance Minister Tom Osborne. “In addition to that, every province and territory will get additional money should sales of cannabis reach expectations or exceed expectations. The federal government has a cap of $100 million on what they can collect on the excise tax.”
There are still a lot of unknowns on startup costs, including required social programs and enforcement. Early sales in the province are going to be watched closely.
However, Osborne said, it is expected there will be a clear revenue stream in future.
Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador president Tony Keats said his organization is developing a specific request related to that. In an email Tuesday, he said it will come “shortly.”
“Our main priority is being able to keep our communities safe and we must have the financial tools to do so,” Keats stated.
“That is why we are working with our municipalities as we speak, looking at what effect this will have on their communities. We all know that municipalities will face some kind of increase in cost with regards to enforcement and zoning issues within their municipalities. We must be at the table when it comes to revenue-sharing conversations with the province. When it comes to cannabis, it’s our municipalities where it will be sold in and it’s our municipalities that it will be consumed in.”