Manitoba premier Brian Pallister says Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman shouldn’t be so worried about pot costs.
His latest comment comes after the two have been going back and forth this week on whether or not there is money to be made when it comes to pot in the province.
On Monday, Pallister rejected a call from the Association of Manitoba Municipalities for a share of the federal excise tax on recreational pot, which Ottawa has offered to share with the provinces. He said there is no profit in cannabis, and the province is already dealing with rising interest rates and costly projects at Manitoba Hydro.
Bowman disagreed and responded with a tweet saying Winnipeg taxpayers would be on the hook for the city’s pot costs, if they don’t receive any of the federal tax or a new provincial social responsibility fee from the province.
The provincial social responsibility fee will come into effect in January and will be a six per cent tax on pot retailers in Manitoba.
Bowman said pot will cost the city $1.76 million, with much of it coming from extra costs associated with policing.
The premier replied to the mayor’s concerns Friday and stuck to his guns.
“We have no compelling evidence of short-term profitability of pot,” Pallister said. “I say take a look at the big picture, we got a great relationship, we’re committed to the city of Winnipeg, we’re going to keep working with them, don’t get hung up on pot.”
Bowman is convinced cannabis will make the province money.
“You take a look at the experience of alcohol, governments collect a lot of money,” Bowman said on Wednesday. “You take a look at tobacco, governments collect a lot of money. Cannabis will be the same, I don’t know what the numbers will be, ultimately.
“At a minimum, let’s just be made whole, so we don’t have to pass on the costs to our existing tax base.”
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