Whitehorse Daily Star

Premier wants bigger take of tax revenue from cannabis sales

Premier Sandy Silver says he’s not happy with the federal government’s proposed marijuana excise tax

By Taylor Blewett on October 5, 2017

Premier Sandy Silver says he’s not happy with the federal government’s proposed marijuana excise tax that would see the revenue it generates split 50/50 between the federal and the provincial/territorial governments.

“We believe that our expenses are a lot more than the federal government’s expenses,” Silver told local media Wednesday.

He wouldn’t specify what percentage he would like to see the provinces and territories receive of the tax’s profits.

The premier did say that they will be shouldering the majority of the costs associated with the legalization of marijuana by July 1, 2018.

“No jurisdiction in Canada ... thinks that this is going to be a cash grab. It’s not,” he said.

The provinces and territories will be responsible for much of the infrastructure used for legal cannabis distribution, he explained.

Marijuana education

They will also deal with marijuana education and new pressure on health and social services.

Therefore, the federal government needs to reconsider how much of the revenue from the proposed tax the provinces and territories ought to receive.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the tax proposal after a meeting with premiers Tuesday in Ottawa.

It would see $1 taxed per gram of marijuana purchased up to $10, after which it would rise to 10 per cent of the total price.

According to Silver, neither the federal government nor the premiers are interested in charging more or less than the parameters proposed on that specific tax.

Provinces and territories can, however, decide to apply additional taxation to the sale of marijuana in their own jurisdictions.

“If you keep on increasing that tax, then you decrease the chunk you’re going to take out of the organized crime,” Silver said.

Eliminating the cannabis black market is the exclusive goal of legalization, according to the premier.

He said he also believes the mandatory minimum age to purchase legal cannabis should mirror that of a province or territory’s liquor age restrictions.

“Just for ease of implementation. The easier you make the implementation, the less it’s going to cost, therefore the less onus is going to be on increasing fees or increasing those tax percentages.”

A Yukon government survey on cannabis legalization in the territory closed last Saturday.

More than 3,100 surveys were completed since its launch on Aug. 10, making it “the most successful survey undertaken by the Government of Yukon,” according to a press release.

Its results will be posted to the Department of Health and Social Services website by Nov. 15.

Comments (12)

Up 2 Down 10

warlord on Oct 10, 2017 at 8:58 pm

A flag waving pro mining supporter of right wing authoritarian Harper is claiming to be a libertarian. So much for the bizarre opinions of a self proclaimed pot head.
Pot is psychologically addictive, and the strength of it these days is enough to trigger in some a psychotic episode.

Up 20 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Oct 7, 2017 at 1:19 pm

“No jurisdiction in Canada ... thinks that this is going to be a cash grab. It’s not,” he said. Sounds like Sandy has been drinking the same Kool Aid the PM is.
It's all about money and nothing else.
"Eliminating the cannabis black market is the exclusive goal of legalization, according to the premier."
If you want to remove the criminal element- you remove the profitability.

Up 10 Down 10

ProScience Greenie on Oct 7, 2017 at 12:22 pm

There has always been a fair amount of support for legalizing weed by fiscal and small 'l' conservatives. Perhaps if Harper had listened to them and sided with legalization he would be PM, not Jr. Anyways come next Canada Day, there will be lots of conservatives enjoying a legal toke. Like when the LGR was scrapped, a happy day for those of us with a small 'l' libertarian streak.

Up 22 Down 9

jc on Oct 6, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Two Liberal governments fighting over the taxes of marijuana. What a shame. The real motive though for legalizing pot is the votes for the Libs. Same as bringing in all those 3rd world immigrants and refugees. And notice July 1 - Canada's birthday is the first day of legalization. John A McDonald must be rolling over in his grave.

Up 12 Down 14

Snowball on Oct 5, 2017 at 11:56 pm

@Max - A minimum age limit on pot won’t create any more of a black market than having a drinking age does for alcohol. I’m guessing you are just a kid who wants to smoke pot lol.

Up 28 Down 6

YukonMax on Oct 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm

"new pressure on health and social services" from where? We are smoking weed right now and have been for decades. Making it legal won't make us smoke more. Yes some folks will try it because it's legal but overall nothing will really change.

Up 20 Down 8

Karen Black on Oct 5, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Silver has a pretty weak understanding of the legislation.

Another of the "exclusive goals" is to minimize the harms associated with the drug's use (e.g. criminal records), while keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth is another clear objective repeatedly stated by the Prime Minister.

Either way, taxing it into the ground isn't going to help eliminate the black market, regardless of who gets what percent.
Silver should listen more on his many trips to Ottawa.

Up 18 Down 5

June Jackson on Oct 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Personally, I've never even tried street drugs.. (I know..stoners are going to say pot isn't a 'street drug'..but..it's on the street..and it's a drug..) but, I don't drink either.. if people want it, they'll find it.. witness the end of prohibition in 1932.. It's 'your' life as it were, and I don't care how people choose to live their lives..

I wonder how it's going to go down.. I've heard people say, they aren't going to pay any more GD taxes, they'll keep buying it from their dealer, I've heard government grade is garbage, (grades? who knew?) they'll keep buying it from their dealer.. Government seems to be expecting a stampede to the pot counter and how many people are they going to hire to look after sales? finance? stock? Not to mention extraneous costs like rents, parking etc. Are there any projections on how much is expected to be sold? (I don't think there are as many stoners here as the government thinks there are..but, that's just me).

I think this is a big step, and that there are always unanticipated consequences that arise.. that no one saw coming.. I don't think there will be any big societal changes..people who don't do it, aren't going to start, and people who do, already have their stashes and people they buy it from. Interesting times.

Up 30 Down 10

Max Mack on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

According to Silver, "Eliminating the cannabis black market is the exclusive goal of legalization".
But, setting a minimum age limit will guarantee a continuing black market.

So, is Silver confused about the "exclusive goal of legalization" or is he being disingenuous?

Up 26 Down 24

Laura Schumann on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Ahh - finally some excitement and we don't have only to deal with
drunk drivers. Nice to have a choice (sarcasm) between booze and drugs!

Up 33 Down 11

What a joke! on Oct 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm

What a total crock! How is there going to be any 'increased pressure on social services'? Maybe some of the local alchies are going to take up marijuana and save us all a whole lot of money from reduced damages to health and reduced calls to the police.

And education? Suddenly when marijuana becomes likely LESS available to kids, you are going to start educating kids?
Sandy needs more money to build highways for the mining industry. He has promised over a hundred million for them already!

Up 28 Down 15

ProScience Greenie on Oct 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Much more than $100/oz and a 'black market' will exist. Plus it is as easy to grow half decent weed as it is tomatoes. Hope they don't screw up what should be a simple thing like Ontario is doing.

Anyways legal weed won't be the end of the world. Mostly harmless unlike booze, crack etc.

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