Councillors voted Monday evening to set the cannabis business license fee at $20,000, but it wasn’t a unanimous decision.
Three councillors opposed the move, including Ward 3 Coun. Ann Iwanchuk.
“I think $20,000 is extremely exorbitant for a license fee, I don’t think it’s fair to put that on seven business owners,” Iwanchuk said during the debate.
“I will not be supporting the bylaw for those reasons.”
Ward 9 Coun. Bev Dubois voted in favour of the license fee.
“I will not have business licenses on the mill rate,” Dubois said.
“Administration has already spent close to $150,000 in the past year or so working on those bylaws and working on all of the cannabis issues.”
City officials have said significant resources have been used to date and expect that to increase “due to additional services that will be provided to the business community and general public” once cannabis is legalized.
Services would include working with applicants to find a suitable location, carrying out inspections, and fielding questions for businesses and the public.
Council still needs to decide how much it will cost for an annual renewal. Administration has proposed a $10,000 fee.
Administration has said the fee structure can be re-evaluated once the businesses are established and how they impact long-term resource requirements.
The normal cost of a business license in Saskatoon is $125, with an annual renewal rate of $85.