Pot sector players welcome edibles tax change, but unhappy medical tax remains

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A cannabis plant approaching maturity is photographed in Fenwick, Ont., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

TORONTO — Cannabis industry players welcomed the change in the Federal Budget to tax edibles, extracts, oils and concentrates based on the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol rather than weight, as it could ease pricing for some products and potentially boost product availability.

However, licensed producers and a patient advocacy group say they are disappointed that medical cannabis will continue to be taxed, despite a campaign calling on Ottawa to exempt patients.

The Liberal government yesterday laid out its 2019 budget which proposed that cannabis edibles, extracts, topicals and oils — which will be legalized in the coming months — be subject to excise duties based on the total quantity of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in the final product, rather than by weight of the cannabis used.

Organigram’s chief executive officer Greg Engel says prices for some products depending on potency could relax, as consumers will now be paying for what is in the final product, not how it was produced.

The Cannabis Council of Canada’s executive director says this change would also make it more financially viable for licensed producers to use low-grade, low-THC cannabis in their inventory that is not suitable for sale to produce edibles and other products once legalized.

Allan Rewak added that under the old regime, licensed producers were disincentivized from utilizing this low-grade unfinished inventory, such as trim and shake, as it would require large volumes to yield enough THC and would be taxed accordingly.

Patient advocacy group Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana says it appreciates the government’s move to reduce taxation on certain products, but basing taxation on THC content stigmatizes those who rely on the cannabinoid to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and is “disappointed” that taxes remain on medical cannabis overall.

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Press

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