Pubdate: Fri, 29 Dec 2017
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2017 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Eric Gagnon
Page: A10


Re: Pot plan another Liberal mess. Kelly McParland, Dec. 21.

How can the Liberal government regulate marijuana once it is
legalized, if they can't seem to tackle the even bigger issue of
contraband tobacco in Canada?

We agree with Kelly McParland's column: The Liberal government's rush
to get marijuana legalized by July 1, 2018, has not fully realized its

Take taxation for instance - while taxes on tobacco represent close to
75 per cent of their selling price, marijuana taxes will not exceed a
$1 per gram, or 10 per cent of a producer's selling price, according
to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

While Morneau's expectation that the low cost will ultimately
eliminate the black market, the tobacco industry continues to see high
taxation drive Canadians to purchase tobacco from contraband sales.
Nearly a quarter of tobacco that is consumed in Canada are illegal,
which results in a $2 billion loss of revenue for the Canadian government.

When more than 70 per cent of the price of legal tobacco in Canada is
tax, it is difficult for legal sales to compete with the black market
and it is imperative that tobacco be treated equally in order to shift
tobacco sales from the hands of criminals and back into the legal
marketplace. We have been saying this for decades!

I'm sure Justin Trudeau has a lot of ambitious projects in store for
our country, but maybe the Liberal government should focus on
addressing this issue before tackling an even bigger one.

Eric Gagnon, Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Imperial
Tobacco Canada
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