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Medical cannabis patients to lobby government for tax exemption

In this Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 file photo, an employee arranges glass display containers of marijuana on shelves at a retail and medical cannabis dispensary in Boulder, Colo.
In this Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016 file photo, an employee arranges glass display containers of marijuana on shelves at a retail and medical cannabis dispensary in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Medical marijuana patients are bracing for an uphill battle in their bid to convince the federal government to exempt medicinal cannabis from excise taxes.

Their lobbying effort will begin once MPs start debating the government’s budget implementation bill, which in its current form would apply the taxes to all but a small group of cannabis-based drugs.

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Patients and doctors groups fear that as a result, those cannabis medications not exempted from the tax will be too expensive for patients who already struggle to make ends meet.

They say they are planning to lobby federal officials to change the bill before it becomes law.

READ MORE: Reality check: Does pot have an expiry date?

Gerald Major, president of the Canadian Spondylitis Association, says he and other patient advocates plan to push federal officials for a change, even though the Liberal government has so far refused to budge.

The government says exempting medicinal cannabis could lead to abuse of the existing medical marijuana system.

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