December 1, 2017 2:21 pm

Excise tax on medical marijuana has Kingston-area users and producers crying foul

Tax on medical cannabis has producers and consumers crying foul

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The federal government’s plan to add a $1 tax on every gram of cannabis sold when it’s legalized next year isn’t sitting well with producers and users of medical marijuana.

Dianna Donnelly has a prescription and uses medical cannabis to help with depression.

“For the medicinal part of it I used to be on Cymbalta, I didn’t pay tax when I was on Cymbalta.”

She thinks the potential $1 federal tax on every gram of medical cannabis sold in Canada is discriminatory.

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READ MORE: Trudeau outlines proposed excise tax on legalized marijuana

Jordan Sinclair a spokesperson for Tweed/Canopy Growth Corporation thinks the government’s plans to keep recreation and medical marijuana at similar prices misses the mark.

“So that there isn’t an incentive for people to go in and join the medical stream kind of on dubious grounds I would say.”

Sinclair says prescriptions should be left to the doctors.

“It could be dealt with, with existing measures and one of those, the most important is that doctors are already very well-trained in drug-seeking behaviour.”

For Donnelly the $1 exise tax per gram adds up to a $90 increase for her per month, and over the span of a year that’s just shy of $1,100.

Potential medical coverage through benefits doesn’t help her either.

“I’m a freelance writer who works from home, so, you know, benefits are never going to help me.”

Tweed/Canopy Growth Corporation has now joined a campaign asking the government to remove the tax.

Sinclair says the campaign was started by Canadians for fair access to medical marijuana.

“We’re sending emails to all of our customers so that they can add their name and send a letter to their member of parliament,” Sinclair said.

Donnelly says she has already spoken with her MP in Kingston by phone and also raised her concern the tax could create an incentive for prescription marijuana users to continue using the black market.

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

“People don’t have extra money, there are people who would rather buy on the street not even knowing whether it’s safe or not.”

The $1 tax is a minimum. The tax also includes a 10 per cent of the overall price, whichever is greater provision.

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

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