Taxes on Medical Cannabis Pushing Patients to Illegal Sources, Group Says

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 NewsCannabis Taxes on medical marijuana pushing patients to illegal sources, group says By Greg Mercer Waterloo Region Record  Medicinal marijuana advocates want Canada to remove a ten per cent federal excise tax from cannabis for medical patients.  (JEFF CHIU / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Since Canada legalized cannabis in October, medicinal marijuana users say their costs have jumped noticeably — pushing more of them to find cheaper sources on the black market.

For the more than 300,000 licensed medical users in this country, federal excise taxes ushered in with legalization have been a bone of contention.

A national lobby group is calling on Ottawa to remove the roughly 10 per cent excise tax on medicinal marijuana, a new levy they say will add hundreds of dollars a year to the cost of their medicine.

“I’ve seen my costs go up in the last few months as some producers have passed along the excise tax costs to their patients,” said Peter Thurley, a Kitchener-based board member with Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana.

“We’re hoping the federal government will actually listen to patients, and have those taxes taken off.”

Medical cannabis, which Thurley uses to treat chronic nerve pain from major stomach surgery, is the only medicine that is taxed in Canada, he said. The excise tax is paid by licensed cannabis producers, while consumers pay the provincial sales tax — another concern for Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana.

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