John Tory wants pot tax to help with costs of legalization in Toronto

Jul 19 2017, 1:36 am

Mayor John Tory is suggesting a potential tax on marijuana to help the city pay for legalization costs.

In a letter penned to Premier Wynne, the mayor says that while he supports the legalization of marijuana, he does not believe that the people of Toronto will support the widespread sale of it in residential neighbourhoods or in retailing areas.

Tory suggests pot tax

Wynne has expressed her support for regulating marijuana in a similar way to the LCBO but Tory says he has “significant concerns” about how that distribution will fit in with communities and how it will impact community resources.

“I am also certain that a big part of the enforcement of these regulations will be on the shoulders of municipalities whether through licensing, zoning by-law enforcement or municipal policing,” he wrote.

The mayor also suggested that legalization would increase costs for Toronto and suggested a “special levy” on some marijuana sales.

“As a consequence, we would want to discuss with you what the magnitude of those costs might be and reach agreement with you on both increased public health funding and a dedicated share of increased provincial revenues attributable to the sale of marijuana,” he wrote.

Municipalities need to be included

Tory said that he wants municipalities to be included in creating rules and regulations regarding marijuana use.

“Other issues which require discussions in which municipalities must play a part would include rules in respect to the smoking of marijuana in public places, proximity of retail marijuana sales to schools and community centres, safety in the growing of marijuana, public education and law enforcement,” said Tory.

In April 2017, the federal government introduced the Cannabis Act. The Act will legalize and regulate marijuana across the country by July 2018. However, the plan is calling on provinces and territories to create a framework in order to regulate distribution, sale, and consumption of cannabis.

The Government of Ontario is asking the public for their input on how legalization should be implemented in the province.

Starting July 12, Ontario residents can have their say on issues and decisions related to the legalization of marijuana by taking part in an online survey. The survey will close on July 31, 2017.

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