Illegal pot sales are turning into a high earner for governments.
Don Briere’s national chain of renegade retail shops remitted $688,449 in GST/HST collected from December to May on exploding sales of unlicensed marijuana, hashish and cannabis-laced edibles to relieve aches and pains.
Briere remitted $286,452 more in federal payroll taxes and employer contributions to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan for 2015. Then there’s personal income tax, corporate tax, store property taxes, workers’ compensation and more.
His illegal business rivals are expected to generate oodles more for government.
“They’re not quaking in their boots when the police come, they’re quaking in their boots when the taxman comes,” Briere said from one of his three stores in Vancouver, part of the contested 19-store Weeds empire rising in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
The apparent contradiction between criminal law and tax law is the latest pot hole on the road to marijuana legalization.