October 3, 2017 5:15 pm
Updated: October 3, 2017 6:40 pm

Justin Trudeau surprises premiers, outlines proposed excise tax on legalized marijuana

WATCH ABOVE: Trudeau outlines proposed excise tax on legalized marijuana

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OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is proposing to levy a federal excise tax on recreational marijuana once it becomes legal next July, with the provinces and territories receiving half the revenue.

Under the federal proposal put to premiers during a first ministers meeting today, each gram of pot would be subject to an excise tax of $1 on sales up to $10 and a 10 per cent tax on sales of more than $10.

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However, some premiers argue that provinces will foot the lion’s share of the cost of regulating and enforcing the new regime and should, therefore, get the lion’s share of the revenue.

“For the first time that I’m aware of, the federal government is looking at a revenue-sharing model. That’s not something we’d contemplated before,” said British Columbia Premier John Horgan, as he left his first-ever First Ministers Meeting, held Tuesday in Ottawa.  “I believe provinces are concerned that there’s a whole bunch of costs imposed on us in terms of distribution, in terms of regulation … and so on.”

WATCH: Premiers address concerns over federal government’s marijuana excise tax proposal

Trudeau says the costs of legalization, the level of taxation on marijuana and revenue sharing are all still matters under negotiation with the provinces.

READ MORE: Reality check: Marijuana shortages will plague first year or so of legalization

He emphasizes that the goal of legalization is not to make money.

He says all first ministers agree that the priority is to keep marijuana out of the hands of kids and out of the control of criminal gangs.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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