N.S. premier won't say how much in budget covers costs of cannabis
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil delivers his annual update as he addresses a business luncheon, in Halifax on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is refusing to say how much money has been allocated in his government's budget to cover the costs of implementing the sale of legalized cannabis.
The provincial government's budget tabled Tuesday makes provision for just over two full-time equivalent positions in the Justice Department and McNeil says other money included in the fiscal document.
However, there doesn't appear to be a specific line item for those costs.
"The only reason why we haven't said the numbers is because we have a very different opinion with some of our partners about the costs associated," McNeil told reporters on Wednesday.
McNeil said the province is still in negotiations with federal officials over covering the costs of marijuana implementation.
"Part of our negotiation is we want them (Ottawa) to cover a good portion of it and if we notify them that we have a substantial amount in our budget, that's our starting point," he said. "That number is one the government of Nova Scotia will keep to itself."
Meanwhile, the province is relying on cash from marijuana sales to help it deliver a third consecutive balanced budget.
A fair portion of the estimated $29.4-million surplus in the 2018-19 budget is based roughly on $20.8 million in fresh taxes and duties from the projected sales of about 12 million grams of recreational cannabis.