RMA’s re­sponse to mu­nic­i­pal cannabis tran­si­tion pro­gram

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Cannabis - CON­TRIB­UTED

In re­sponse to the Gov­ern­ment of Al­berta’s re­cently an­nounced Mu­nic­i­pal Cannabis Tran­si­tion Pro­gram (MCTP), the Ru­ral Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Al­berta (RMA) ex­presses con­tin­ued con­cern re­gard­ing the lack of sup­ports avail­able to Al­berta’s ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to nav­i­gate the im­pend­ing le­gal­iza­tion of re­cre­ational cannabis.

The prov­ince has placed sig­nif­i­cant re­spon­si­bil­ity on mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to de­velop and en­force by­laws that iden­tify land use re­stric­tions for pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, and pub­lic con­sump­tion rules within mu­nic­i­pal bound­aries, which will re­quire mon­i­tor­ing and en­force­ment to pro­tect pub­lic health and re­duce the risk of ex­po­sure for chil­dren.

The RMA has ad­vo­cated that all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Al­berta re­ceive a 50 per cent share of fed­eral cannabis ex­cise tax rev­enues that are dis­trib­uted from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in or­der to par­tially ad­dress costs as­so­ci­ated with in­creased plan­ning and en­force­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity

The MCTP pro­vides min­i­mal fund­ing to a lim­ited num­ber of Al­berta’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, not re­flect­ing the chal­lenges that ru­ral and small ur­ban mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will have in ad­dress­ing this is­sue ef­fec­tively in their com­mu­ni­ties.

"While we un­der­stand the le­gal­iza­tion of re­cre­ational cannabis was a fed­eral de­ci­sion, ad­e­quate pro­vin­cial shar­ing of the fed­eral ex­cise tax is needed to en­sure that all of Al­berta’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties can en­force lo­cal by­laws ef­fec­tively for the health and safety of their res­i­dents,” ex­plained Al Kem­mere, Pres­i­dent, Ru­ral Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Al­berta.

“The re­cent an­nounce­ment pro­vides some sup­port to some larger ur­ban cen­tres; how­ever, ru­ral ar­eas rely on RCMP to mon­i­tor and han­dle crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, not de­velop and en­force mu­nic­i­pal by­laws. The lack of fund­ing through the Mu­nic­i­pal Cannabis Tran­si­tion Pro­gram made avail­able to Al­berta’s ru­ral and small ur­ban mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties raises sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns as to the ef­fec­tive en­force­ment of by­laws guid­ing re­cre­ational cannabis use. Proper en­gage­ment with Al­berta’s mu­nic­i­pal as­so­ci­a­tions could have led to more mu­nic­i­pal con­cerns be­ing ad­dressed through the de­sign of this fund­ing pro­gram.”

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