Pot-tax warning from Alberta business group: ‘We don’t want to reinforce the black market’

Alberta reacts to a proposed federal tax on pot. MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images File

A Calgary-based pro pot group says the federal government is walking a fine line with its proposed tax on pot at $1 per gram.

“We will be studying the proposed tax further, but generally, what is most important is that the tax and regulatory burden isn’t too high, or else it will reinforce the cannabis black market,” Lyndsay Blackett said.

Blackett is a former Alberta Conservative cabinet minister. He’s now a lobbyist with a new cannabis business group called the Canadian Cannabis Chamber.

The chamber includes former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson, as well as former Alberta Conservative justice minister Jonathan Denis.

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According to Blackett, $1 per gram seems “just about right.”

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It is anticipated the federal government will raise billions with its tax on pot. Provinces such as Alberta are already lobbying Ottawa to ensure they receive their fair share when pot becomes legal in Canada.

Watch below: Ottawa proposes taxing legal marijuana at least $1 per gram

Click to play video: 'Ottawa proposes taxing legal marijuana at least $1 per gram'
Ottawa proposes taxing legal marijuana at least $1 per gram

In the interim, Alberta has proposed allowing the private sector to handle retail sales. Although Friday a news report suggested Alberta is studying a government-run online component, as well.

According to Canadian Cannabis Chamber president Peter Pilarski, combining privatized retail sales with government-run online stores makes sense.

“Taking a hybrid approach is an intelligent compromise to a complex decision in an emerging industry,” Pilarski said

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Recreational pot use will become legal July 1, 2018.

Watch below: There were some major developments on Friday in terms of what legalized marijuana will look like in Alberta. Tom Vernon reports.

Click to play video: 'What marijuana legalization will look like in Alberta becomes less hazy'
What marijuana legalization will look like in Alberta becomes less hazy


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