Nenshi slams province over cannabis revenue-splitting formula

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Calgary's mayor says the way the province is handling the sharing of cannabis revenues is "an absolute disgrace."

Earlier this week, the government announced it will share $11.2 million with municipalities over the next two years to help them with the costs related to legalization.

Calgary's expenses are expected to be $10 million to $12 million per year for additional police training and equipment and more bylaw enforcement as well as costs tied to additional building inspections and land-use zoning issues for retail outlets.

However, its initial payment from the province will be just slightly more than $3 million spread over two years.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the province will reap the revenues from cannabis sales including an excise tax and a sales tax — yet little of that cash will be shared with communities.

"None of that money, essentially, is coming back to the municipalities who are incurring all the costs," he said Thursday.

"So they're pocketing the money and leaving the costs with us. And to announce that two days before legalization, a month before we have to pass our budget, that's just not fair ball."

Finance Minister Joe Ceci shot back saying most provinces are not helping municipalities financially.

"It's to reflect what Quebec and Ontario have done before us. We join only three provinces in the country to provide any support to their municipalities via a grant contribution," Ceci said.

He said the grant program will be looked at again in two years.