Pubdate: Fri, 26 Jan 2018
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Sarah Hanlon
Page: 17

Group Taking To The Streets To Protest Federal Proposal


Medical cannabis patients who use the plant to treat conditions
ranging from eczema to cancer are coming together this Friday from 10
a.m. to noon in front of Finance Minister

Bill Morneau's downtown Toronto constituency office at 430 Parliament
St., to call out the government's proposed plan to increase the
already unfair and burdensome tax on medical cannabis.

Unlike medical cannabis, most prescribed medications are not taxed,
creating a situation where patients are choosing medications based on
financial options rather than harm reduction and efficacy.

During a time when opioids are killing thousands of Canadians a year,
we should be making access to medical cannabis easier, not more
difficult and costly. But after years of campaigning with promises to
legalize marijuana without changing the medical program in any way,
Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is going back on its word (yet
again) and proposing an additional 10% excise tax on medical pot.

For those who already struggle to pay for their green meds out of
pocket (most insurance companies will not cover cannabis like they do
other prescription drugs and cannabis is already unfairly taxed) this
'sin' tax simply cannot stand.

Morneau should be ready for a big (and smokey) crowd. A Facebook event
page created for the protest showed 75 people have RSVP'd and another
292 were interested in attending.

I caught up with founder and executive director of Canadians for Fair
Access to Medical Marijuana, Jonathan Zaid, to discuss why patients
are done with petitions and instead turning to protest the
government's proposed tax increase on medical cannabis. Zaid has had
plenty of success petitioning the government on behalf of medical
marijuana patients; he has successfully advocated for medical
insurance coverage and helped to eliminate fees Ontario-based doctors
often charged for cannabis authorizations. Zaid thinks the proposed
tax is unfair and harmful for medical cannabis patients.

Why is it important for CFAMM to organize now?

"CFAMM is organizing a rally as part of our continued #DontTaxMedicine
campaign, calling on the government to drop their proposal to apply a
sin tax to medical cannabis. Applying taxes to medical cannabis - a
medicine - is wrong and will negatively impact the lives of the over
200,000 Canadians who use cannabis for medical purposes."

What is the significance of holding the rally outside Morneau's

"Over 16,000 Canadians and a coalition of 12 nonprofits have supported
the elimination of tax on medical cannabis, yet Finance Minister
Morneau has not made any commitment to drop the proposal. We are
rallying outside the minister's office to demonstrate the community's
steadfast dedication to see the tax dropped."

What outcome does CFAMM expect from the protest on

"We hope the protest will bring further awareness of the urgent need
to eliminate taxes on medical cannabis. The only fair decision the
government can make is to treat medical cannabis like every other
prescription and accordingly exempt it from tax."
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