November 10, 2017 8:27 pm

B.C.’s finance minister disagrees with proposed split on pot tax revenue

The Federal Government proposed Friday a taxation on legal marijuana of $1 per gram or 10 per cent of the final retail price, whichever is higher, with the revenues to be divided equally between Ottawa and the provinces.

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The federal government is out with its tax scheme for legalized marijuana.

The proposed excise tax would add $1 per gram or 10 per cent to the final retail price charged — whatever’s higher — plus GST, and the revenues would be split equally with the provinces and territories.

READ MORE: Canadians could pay at least $1 per gram in weed tax, plus GST: feds

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James welcomed the federal government’s tax position but said there remain issues around how revenues will be divvied up.

“The majority of costs are borne by the provinces. Whether we’re talking about public education, road safety, and public safety or policing,” said James. “Those are issues that the province is going to have to address, there’s a long list.”

LISTEN: Finance Minister Carole James joins Steele & Drex

James said the proposed 50/50 revenue split will be a starting point for negotiations with the feds but she wouldn’t say exactly how much money the province actually wants.

“We’re happy to sit down and negotiate and talk about the issues that we’ve mentioned — those are public education, public safety, road safety,” she said.

Municipal and provincial governments have both expressed concern about the costs associated with legalizing marijuana.

READ MORE: B.C. launches public consultations on pot legalization

Lawyer and cannabis reform advocate Kirk Tousaw said he’s not surprised by the level of the pot tax.

“It seems to be line with the estimates of what that level of taxation might be,” he said.

But Tousaw said it’s shameful the federal government is also imposing the 10 per cent excise tax on medical marijuana users, which he said will drive up the cost of their medicine.

~With files from The Canadian Press and Gord McDonald

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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