Article by Jane Switzer, Lift News
Green bud, grey area: Medical cannabis consumers buy products directly from licensed producers, but they must pay for it out of pocket – sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars a month.
Medical cannabis generally isn’t covered by third-party health insurance plans because it doesn’t have a drug identification number (DIN), a regulatory stamp of approval issued by Health Canada. Starting March 1, Sun Life will become the country’s first major insurance company to offer optional coverage for medical cannabis, but for many consumers the only opportunity for financial relief comes through the taxman.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows for cannabis purchased under prescription to be claimed as a “medical expense” deduction on your federal income taxes. Here’s how it works.
Who qualifies: Anyone with a prescription from an authorized medical practitioner to purchase cannabis from a licensed producer. As of this writing, there are 89 producers across the country licensed by Health Canada. Producers are legally required to issue receipts, which you’ll need come tax filing time. Hold on to the paper copies, or find out how to access your receipts online. In case of an audit or review, the CRA recommends keeping receipts for six years.
What you can claim: The amount paid for fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oils, and cannabis seeds and plants procured from a licensed producer – basically, product only. You cannot claim costs related to growing or accessories such as lights, containers and other storage, fertilizers, vaporizers, pipes, capsules, or capsule filler machines.