In a news conference held Friday morning, the Canadian Government announced a proposed tax of at least $1 per gram on all cannabis sales, following legalization in July 2018.
The motion, if adopted, would start with an excise tax of $1 per gram or 10 percent of the retail price, whichever is higher. This levy would be paid for by the manufacturer and incorporated into the final price of the product. On top of that charge, consumers would be required to pay the traditional Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the point of sale.
In an example provided by the Department of Finance, if 1 gram of dried cannabis sells for $8 wholesale, after the $1 excise duty and then applicable GST, each gram of pot would cost approximately $10.17 at retail. Customers will see the GST added at checkout.
All revenue under this proposal would be divided equally between the federal government and the provinces.
The taxes would be applied to both fresh and dried cannabis, oils, seeds, and seedlings for home grow.
The proposed 50-50 tax split between federal and provincial governments has been a controversial issue among premieres for some time. The provinces argue they are doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to enacting the new regime and should, therefore, receive more financial benefits — it’s an argument that does not concern the feds.
“I’m very comfortable that the level of taxation that has been determined as appropriate in this case achieves our goals of keeping the price sufficiently low to be competitive with an illicit market,” said MP Bill Blair during the news conference.
Blair added the government believes the tax level will be high enough as to not incentivize Canadians to purchase marijuana. “It’s a matter of finding the right level of taxation and price in order to achieve both of those very important public purpose aims. I believe the work we have done set a very appropriate level.”
The proposal will be available for public comment until Dec. 7.
Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett