At the end of today’s First Ministers Meeting in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told unsuspecting premiers about his plan to tax recreational cannabis.
He proposed that the federal government impose a dollar-a-gram excise tax up to prices of $10. On cannabis priced higher than $10 a gram, the tax would be 10 percent.
Trudeau said the proposal included a plan to split the tax revenue 50-50 with provincial governments.
‘The provinces argued that they are going to be burying more costs, certainly, up-front in terms of installing the regime,’ Trudeau told media in Ottawa after the meeting.
‘I certainly said we’re open to looking at that and discussing and making sure that we are doing this right.’
Trudeau also took the opportunity to reassure Canadians of the government’s priorities in legalizing cannabis.
‘I emphasize once again that nobody’s mindset on this approach is bringing in tax revenue on this,’ he said.
‘The mindset with which we have approached the legalization and control of marijuana from the very beginning has been from a public health and safety standpoint. What we need to do to put in a system that will protect our kids, will protect our communities, and remove the black market from accessing the billions of dollars of profits that they do every year off of this.’
Finance ministers will meet in December to discuss the taxation of cannabis.
The Globe and Mail has reported that ‘a number of premiers’ objected to the idea of sharing tax revenue.