While legalization is good news for many recreational users of marijuana, those using it for medical reasons are bracing for a financial hit from new taxes.
Medical marijuana is already subject to HST, which does not apply to other prescription drugs. But when legalization takes effect in October, users will also have to pay an excise tax of $1 per gram, or 10 per cent of the retail price, whichever is greater.
That’s the same tax being applied to recreational sales.
“I don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay tax on medication to begin with… and now they’re adding more taxes to it,” said Jean-François Turcotte, who uses medical marijuana to relieve the pain of injuries from a car accident three years ago.
Turcotte got a prescription for medical marijuana from a doctor about a year ago, he said. Previously, he’d been prescribed opioids, which he said plunged him into a severe depression, and caused a host of other health problems that entailed more pharmaceutical treatment.
But while the opioids and other medicines were covered under a drug plan for clients of Ontario’s social assistance program for people with disabilities, or ODSP, the cost of medical marijuana — which Turcotte said has replaced his other drugs entirely — is not.