Canada: a new tax on edibles and concentrates but still no revision of medical cannabis taxes
The Canadian government has just announced its federal budget for 2019. On the menu: new excise taxes based on the total THC content for Edibles and concentrates – which must be legalized next October – and for derivatives and oils. On the other hand, no regime change for medical cannabis that will still be taxed as recreational cannabis.
The CFAMM disappointed
We recently wrote an article about the Dont Tax Medicine campaign of the Canadian Fair Access to Medical Marijuana Association (CFAMM). The latter was protesting against the federal excise taxes imposed on medical cannabis. Canada’s policy is not to impose prescription drugs except for medical cannabis. “When we ask the federal government # Do notTaxPharmaceuticals, we are talking about ALL drugs,” says the CFAMM.
The campaign was aimed at raising awareness among the public and elected officials of this inconsistency in removing these taxes from the 2019 federal budget. Although the campaign continues, this first step has been unsuccessful. Excise taxes imposed on medical cannabis remain. “As an organization whose primary goal is the accessibility of medical cannabis, we are extremely disappointed to see the taxes on medical cannabis remain in the federal budget,” says the CFAMM. The association says that taxes can increase the price of a medical marijuana treatment by a quarter – depending on the province – thus causing some patients to under-dose or to buy themselves on the black market.
“Lobbying, widespread support, media coverage, social media engagement and the thousands of e-mails sent to sympathetic and patient elected representatives have clearly not been enough to convince the government to remove taxes. on the medical cannabis of the federal budget. This highlights the fact that patients treated with cannabis and their voices are not part of their priorities. ”
A different tax for edibles and concentrates
The pre-budget fiscal regime remains unchanged for dried cannabis, seeds and cuttings. On the other hand, a new tax regime is put in place for edibles, extracts and derivatives. It will therefore also apply to oils (already legal) that were subject to the old regime. These products will be taxed according to their THC content. The CBD is not subject to federal taxes.
The proposed tax rate is $ 0.01 per milligram of total THC, or $ 20 cents for a product containing 20% THC. These taxes will be relatively low compared to those weighing on dried cannabis. This is subject to a tax of $ 1 per gram or 10% of the sales price depending on which is the highest. Results: lower prices, a more practical tax for manufacturers since it will simply be check the THC content and motivation for producers to keep the THC levels low. For these reasons, the new tax system has been generally well received.
On the other hand, for the CFAMM, although less important these taxes remain taxes imposed on the patients because they do not make the difference between a recreational and medical use. “We believe this ignores the growing evidence supporting the therapeutic use of THC in medicine and continues to stigmatize patients who need it. These approaches show a lack of understanding around the experience of medical cannabis patients and underscore the need for change. “