The Regina Police Service ask for one third of the overall revenues from taxing legal weed for repression. Zappiste: NO taxes for repression ! City councillor suspects police 'inflated' marijuana cost estimate

The Regina Police Service ask for one third of the overall revenues from taxing legal weed for repression. Zappiste NO taxes for repression !City councillor suspects police 'inflated' marijuana cost estimate

Not enough money from the busts ?

City councillor suspects police 'inflated' marijuana cost estimate for political reasons

Arthur White-Crummey, Regina Leader-Post
More from Arthur White-Crummey, Regina Leader-Post
Published on: February 22, 2018 | Last Updated: February 22, 2018 12:36 PM CST

Policing issues played a minor role in Tuesday’s Ward 4 budget town hall, with only one exception: Cannabis enforcement costs.

The Regina Police Service has estimated the cost of policing a legalized marijuana system at somewhere between $1.2 million and $1.8 million. That number evoked shock from one resident who came to the meeting.

“It stretches the bounds of believability,” she said. “Give me a break.”

Coun. Andrew Stevens tried to steer clear of the RPS during the town hall, only once repeating his earlier warnings about the force’s “uncontrolled” costs.

But the woman’s statement prompted him to suggest the number might be exaggerated for political purposes.

“I believe it’s inflated,” he said. “Here’s my guess: Because it’s packaged in a report directed at the provincial government, saying we need a large share of whatever revenues you are able to accumulate as a result of legalization, I’d say it’s politics.”

The estimate first appeared in a report to council earlier this month. The RPS based it on work done by other police forces, including Edmonton and York Region, both of which pegged costs at roughly two per cent of their overall budget.

The same report recommended that the city push for about one third of the overall revenues from taxing legal weed.

Police say they will have to pay for drug-recognition training and overtime hours for court testimony, as well as continuing expenses for overseeing pot shops.

Stevens said it makes no sense for the RPS to regulate a legal industry, something that’s usually left to bureaucrats. He said police are among the most expensive solutions.

“The provincial government is buffooning the whole situation up, and the police are now being tasked with being regulators,” he said.

Nonetheless, Stevens said any provincial money would be welcome, especially to help police deal with more pressing drug problems, like fentanyl and methamphetamine.

“That’s a real public health issue that the police are more interested in,” he argued. “Cannabis is a sideshow.”

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