Ontario supporting municipalities to ensure safe transition to federal cannabis legalization
Ontario is stepping up support for municipalities and law enforcement to help ensure communities and roads are safe in advance of the federal government’s legalization of cannabis.
Government officials say the province will provide $40 million of its revenue from the federal excise duty on recreational cannabis over two years to help all municipalities with implementation costs related to the legalization of cannabis.
“Today marks an important step in our commitment to deliver a safe and sensible framework for the federal legalization of cannabis. Ontario’s funding approach, developed in partnership with AMO and the City of Toronto, will provide municipalities with access to funding in advance of federal excise revenues. Ontario will work collaboratively with municipalities and the federal government to continue gathering data on the incremental costs of implementation,” stated Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance.
In addition, Ontario is taking further steps to ensure a safe and sensible transition for communities and people by:
- Increasing the capacity of local law enforcement, including the Ontario Provincial Police, by funding sobriety field test training for police officers to help detect impaired drivers
- Creating a specialized legal team to support drug-impaired driving prosecutions
- Increasing capacity at the province’s Centre of Forensic Sciences to support toxicological testing and expert testimony
- Developing a program to divert youth involved in minor cannabis-related offences away from the criminal justice system
- Creating a Cannabis Intelligence Coordination Centre to shut down illegal storefronts and help fight the unsafe and illegal supply of cannabis products
- Providing public health units with support and resources to help address local needs related to cannabis legalization
- Raising awareness of the new provincial rules that will take effect when cannabis is legalized federally.
- Funding will be distributed to municipalities on a per household basis, adjusted to ensure that each municipal government receives no less than $10,000.
- If the province’s portion of the revenue from federal excise duty on recreational cannabis for the first two years of legalization exceeds $100 million, the province will provide municipal governments with 50 per cent of the surplus.