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Medicinal marijuana shouldn't be taxed, patient says
Published Friday, January 11, 2019 6:23PM CST
Last Updated Friday, January 11, 2019 7:09PM CST
A Saskatoon woman says it’s unfair that her medicinal marijuana is taxed – unlike other prescription drugs.
Rebecca Katz says many people who use the drug aren’t able to work and sales taxes make an already expensive drug an even more burdensome cost.
“Cannabis has been a medicine for thousands of years. Why isn’t it treated the same? A lot of people need it to live, need it to function. And they’re paying an arm and a leg and they’re not getting any help from the government.”
She has been using the drug since 2010. It was prescribed by her surgeon after she had 10 incisions in her abdomen and an organ removed.
“It really saved my life,” she said.
“A lot of people have the stoner stigma, that you’re just useless, lay on the couch. But no, it’s the opposite. I got my life back.”
Saskatchewan users pay five per cent GST and six per cent PST on both medicinal and recreational marijuana as well as a nearly 6.5 per cent excise tax.
All other prescription medication is exempt from tax. All provinces are required to adopt a consistent tax treatment for all cannabis products under the federal framework, the Saskatchewan government said in an email to CTV News.
University of Regina economics professor Jason Childs said the federal government should stop taxing marijuana altogether. By inflating the price in the legal market via taxation it’s harder to displace the illegal market, he said.
At least two-thirds of all cannabis purchased in Canada is purchased from the illicit market, he said.
Evan Loster, business process analyst and national clinic coordinator at National Access Cannabis, said it may take a patient challenging cannabis legislation at the Supreme Court of Canada to make any change.
“I'd hope so in time that the cost to the patient will be further reduced and more insurance companies would provide coverage.”