Council to weigh proposed $5K cannabis business licence fee

By Tyler Marr
June 25, 2018 - 8:00am

With a date finally set for marijuana legalization in Canada, city staff are rolling out their initial plans for local regulations.

Prince Albert City Council’s executive committee will consider creating a new Cannabis Business Licence Bylaw along with a handful of amendments to the zoning bylaw designed to regulate marijuana storefronts, production, and wholesale facilities Monday night. 

Proposed are rules outlining licence fees, penalty options, and other requirements. Most notably, the executive committee will be asked to consider a $5,000 business licence fee and a $1,500 annual renewal for cannabis retail locations. Wholesale and production facilities would pay a $1,000 fee and a $100 annual renewal. The proposed bylaw suggests allowing retail outlets to operate between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. requires them to find locations no less than 200 metres from any school or park. The province, however, is allowing operating hours from 8 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Regular business licences cost $100 with a $100 renewal fee.

Administration is also proposing cannabis retailers be restricted to the downtown, service, arterial, and highway commercial districts. Production and wholesale facilities will only be permitted in heavy industrial districts.

The price tag to open shop in Prince Albert pales in comparison to Saskatoon, where a committee recommended marijuana retailers pay a $20,000 licensing and a $10,000 annual renewal commercial business license fee. Regular business licences in Saskatoon cost just $125, with a renewal fee of $85. Saskatoon defended its pricy proposal by calculating the cost of staff hours committed to the process and charging accordingly.

Mayor Greg Dionne previously told paNOW he believed Saskatoon took an appropriate approach to calculating its fees. He said the amount the city will spend tweaking and crafting legislation will be similar to what was spent in Saskatoon, but with the opportunity to benefit from only two licences on offer.

The costs of enforcement also remains his key financial concern, though Dionne figured the important discussion regarding revenue-sharing with the province would light up now that the date has been set.

“That’s sort of the last hurdle: who is paying the cost?” he said. “I’m digging my heels in on this one. Our taxpayers should not pay one dime on enforcement of marijuana when it’s a profitable product and the feds and province are going to make money on it.”

No final decisions will be made Monday night; any discussion or amendments to the draft regulations will be forwarded to the July 16 council meeting for final approval.

 

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