Taxing Pot Won’t Match Taxes Lost to Illegal Tobacco

Article by Mark Bonokoski, The Province

Bill Morneau

One suspects there was no hotbox celebration among Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s crew when it recently learned taxes from the legalized sale of marijuana would produce only a rather modest high.

Instead of the anticipated billions, likely based on the belief that everyone would suddenly start smoking the drapes, the parliamentary budget officer said tax revenues from legalized weed could be as low as $356 million or as high as $959 million.

Certainly not the upwards of $5 billion a year the Trudeau Liberals were hoping would start rolling in.

After all, if the revenuers jack up the sales tax too high, or have suppliers price their pot as if it originates from Holt Renfrew, connoisseurs of the weed will go back to their street dealer. This is how free enterprise works. It’s also how contraband tobacco works.

If Morneau wants billions rather than millions, he should be unleashing his dogs on the contraband tobacco business which, in Canada, rivals that of the narcotics trade.

Read full article here.

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