Pubdate: Tue, 12 Dec 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Kristy Kirkup
Page: B3


Ottawa must withdraw its plan to charge tax on medicinal marijuana or
risk having an adverse effect on patients, a group of more than 50
doctors warned Monday as the federal government hashed out a pot-tax
revenue-sharing agreement with the provinces and territories.

The doctors, who describe themselves as a group of physicians who
routinely prescribe marijuana to their patients, say applying a sales
or excise tax to medicinal pot would impose a financial barrier for
those who use the drug to manage their symptoms, compared to patients
who take other medication.

"The new taxes being proposed on medical cannabis (are) discriminatory
towards patients," Dr. Michael Verbona said in a statement.

"All medications prescribed have zero tax. At a time when we are
suffering from an opiate crisis the last thing we should do is
introduce financial barriers to patients accessing a safer
alternative." Following a day-long meeting between Finance Minister
Bill Morneau and his regional counterparts, the two sides agreed that
the provinces and territories would get a 75 per cent share of
marijuana tax revenues over the course of a two-year agreement. That
money is to be shared with municipalities, which are also expected to
bear a larger proportion of the cost of legalization.

Ottawa will retain the remaining 25 per cent share to a maximum of
$100 million a year, presuming an annual total take of about $400
million. Any balance over and above that would flow to the regions.

Taxing medicinal pot could end up affecting its affordability to those
who need it, said NDP's finance critic Alexandre Boulerice.

"The imposition of sales tax and excise tax on medical marijuana is
unfair, it is stupid and potentially dangerous," Boulerice warned.
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