Legalizing marijuana is supposed to free up the massive amount of resources it takes to enforce prohibition. Yet before recreational sales have even begun, Canadian officials are implementing plans to use sales revenue to fund law enforcement agencies. Not to better focus on more serious and violent crime, but to cover the costs of policing legalization itself. Ontario, the Canadian province pledging $40 million for marijuana law enforcement, says it wants to make sure every municipality has the money it needs to prepare for legalization.
Ontario Will Use Revenue From Cannabis Sales To Cover Law Enforcement Costs Of Legalization
Despite a legislative stall, most Canadians expect the law legalizing recreational cannabis to go into effect this summer.
For months, it seemed that the legislation would pass in July. In fact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government insisted it would meet the July timetable.
But a revised Senate calendar has bumped the legislation to a later date. Canada’s Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told the AP the legislation won’t be done by July.
After Senate passage, provincial governments need at least two months to prepare. So, recreational sales may not begin until mid-August and possibly later.
The current legislation largely leaves it up to the individual provinces to set their own rules and regulations for the legal industry.
But funding ultimately comes from the federal government, which will dole out shares of the tax revenue from recreational sales.
And Ontario, the Canadian province pledging $40 million for marijuana law enforcement, is setting up a number of programs in anticipation of the law’s passage.
Of its share, Ontario will set aside $40 million to cover what Association of Municipalities of Ontario President Lynn Dollin says are the “real costs” of legalization.
Additionally, if Ontario’s tax revenue share exceeds $100 million, municipalities can expect 50 percent of the surplus.
Ultimately, the government of Ontario wants to ensure each of its municipalities receives at least $10,000 to monitor and enforce the new law.
Final Hit: Canadian Province Pledging $40 Million For Marijuana Law Enforcement
Ontario officials say the $40 million fund will establish programs and provide training for law enforcement. The provincial government says it’s focusing on the issues of road safety and of shuttering illegal dispensaries.
Marie-France Lalonde, Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, said the fund will allow municipalities to combat the problem of impaired driving and illegal marijuana sales.
To do so, Ontario is creating a Cannabis Intelligence Co-ordination Centre aimed at shutting down unlicensed dispensaries.
The Centre will also fund training to help police test drivers for cannabis intoxication. Additional funds will support a legal team dedicated to prosecuting drivers under the influence of cannabis.
The Ontario government will also use some of the $40 million to expand the province’s Centre of Forensic Sciences.
The Centre handles toxicological testing for cannabis and other drugs.
Other funds will support public awareness campaigns to educate Canadians about the Ontario’s specific rules for legal marijuana.
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