By Kyle Duggan – I Politics – Nov 10, 2017
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and two organizations representing medical cannabis patients are slamming the federal Liberals’ proposed cannabis tax.
The Liberal government announced Friday it plans to tax cannabis with an excise duty of $1 per gram on all forms of legal cannabis, or 10 per cent of the final retail price.
Pallister warned the excise tax proposal, which would land on top of sales tax, would drive up the price of legal cannabis and hamper efforts to take profits out of the hands of criminals.
At the same time, he said the 50/50 tax-split between the feds and the provinces doesn’t give a big enough share to the provinces, which will have to do the heavy lifting on recreational marijuana policy.
Meanwhile, two patient groups — Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana and the Arthritis Society — put out a joint statement warning the new tax would “unfairly disadvantage patients.”
The groups have been trying to convince the government to drop existing sales taxes for medical cannabis to bring it in line with other prescription medications, arguing that cannabis is largely not covered by insurance and sales taxes throw up financial barriers for patients who need to access the drug.
Jonathan Zaid, executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, told iPolitics the excise proposal would “represent an increased cost of upwards of $500 per year for patients, many of whom are on disability and already cannot afford their medicine.”
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