The Town of Hanna, as well as 214 other Albertan municipalities, will be missing out on the government's cannabis tax benefits.
The Municipal Cannabis Transition Program (MCTP) has community members in Hanna feeling like they are getting the short end of the stick. The MCTP is a program that supports eligible Alberta Municipalities by allocating funds to help police any and all activity surrounding the cannabis legislation in Canada.
"There is an excise tax on cannabis that the federal government collects on how much cannabis is sold," explained CAO of Hanna, Kim Neill. "The federal government says that they will share that with the provinces and municipalities."
Neill also shared that the Federal Government would not be providing municipalities such as Hanna the excise taxes from cannabis because towns and villages under 5,000 residents do not qualify for such funds. The reason the government is justifying no funds going towards these municipalities, according to Neill, is because municipalities under 5,000 do not have to pay for policing by the RCMP.
"That's where they're (the Federal Government) trying to get away with paying the municipalities under 5,000. On the converse side, it could potentially create some other logistical enforcement issues that they're going to be consumed with spending time on or not spending time on, on other priorities in the community," Neill continued. "We're not getting more police officers. They're just going to have to deal with the component of the law as an additional duty."
Neill and the rest of Hanna Town Council have written a letter to the Federal Government expressing the town's disappointment in not receiving any funds from the MCTP, adding that implication regarding the passing of cannabis use can take up bylaw enforcement's time as well the Hanna RCMP.
"If, at the end of the day, there is some kickback that the communities under 5,000 will receive (some money), we certainly would appreciate that," Neill concluded.