Canada’s Medical Cannabis Tax is Discriminatory to Patients #donttaxmedicine

Hi everybody.

It’s not just sensationalist clickbait, it’s really how I feel…

tl;dr: If you agree with my title, you can write to your MP and MLA with a pre-written statement in support of ending cannabis tax for medical patients HERE.

Carry on…

What other medication do you know that is subject to additional tax? I don’t know of any.

Canada will have a federal tax of $1 per gram of cannabis, or 10%, whichever is higher. Provinces are also able to apply their own taxes on top of this.

Alberta’s excise tax will be 16.8%. Holy shit. To be clear, this is a tax being applied to all cannabis. The medical system is supposedly unchanged, but patients are being subject to this new tax as well. I don’t know if it’s easier for the government to apply the tax to all cannabis, or if they just see an opportunity to make more money. Regardless, I would say it’s discriminatory to apply this tax to medical patients.

One of the common uses for medical cannabis is pain. This is what I use it for. (You can check out my previous blog about this here: Cannabis and CRPS.) No other pain medication is taxed like this. For many patients cannabis is a superior analgesic compared to opioids, something that isn’t subject to additional tax but has become a target of the government regardless of efficacy for the individual patient. That’s a whole other topic, but I hope you follow my thought process. There’s just so many ridiculous contradiction of opinions throughout all of this on behalf of the government, specifically provincially.

It’s a nightmare to read through it all. If you take a look at the Canadian government’s official tax calculations on cannabis, you’ll see what I mean. You can also check out Alberta’s Cannabis Framework Cost

Some people argue that all the tax will keep the black market going strong. Check out an article about that from the Financial Post.

Here is part of an email I received from one of my Licensed Producers yesterday;
Dear Zara,
As of October 17th, 2018, cannabis will be legal in Canada. As a current MedReleaf patient you might be wondering if this will have any effect on you as a medical cannabis user. We are here to reassure you that your access to medical cannabis will remain the same!
The Cannabis Act will absorb the current ACMPR legislation, meaning that if you are a patient with an active medical document written by an authorized healthcare practitioner, you will be able to continue ordering your medication.
MedReleaf has always been committed to providing our patients with high-quality, consistent medical cannabis, and that surely won’t change.
Important to Note – Website and Excise Tax:
You may notice some changes to the look and feel of our website and packaging over the next couple of weeks. We are working hard at improving the speed of our site and we appreciate your continued patience throughout this time.
Another notable change coming into effect on Oct. 17 is the addition of excise taxes. An excise tax of $1.00 per gram of cannabis or 10%, whichever is higher, will be applied to medical cannabis in all provinces. Additionally, four provinces/territories are also levying additional provincial “sales tax adjustments”, including Alberta at 16.8%, Nunavut at 19.3%, Ontario at 3.9%, and Saskatchewan at 6.45%.
We strongly believe that you, as medical cannabis patients, should not be subject to additional financial burden because you use a medication that was authorized by your physician. That is why we have made the responsible decision to absorb the excise tax of $1.00 per gram or 10%, whichever is higher. MedReleaf will bear the cost of the excise tax while continuing to vehemently advocate against unjust excise taxes on your medicine.
In addition, we are currently reviewing all aspects of our operations to find opportunities to provide extra value for you and hope to share additional benefits exclusive to medical patients in the near future. For the time being, prices for residents in affected provinces and territories will reflect the provincial/territorial sales tax adjustment portion of the tax, which will be automatically calculated and applied to the price of your products when shopping with us.
If you, like us, believe that you should not be taxed for your medicine, we strongly encourage you to visit our allies from CFAMM and fill out the form to send an automated letter to your provincial and federal elected officials, letting them know that it is wrong to tax your medicine. Learn more by clicking here.
If you would like additional information about the Excise Tax, and how it works, please visit this page at the Government of Canada website.
So some LPs appear to be absorbing this $1 per gram/ 10% tax, but if you are in a province with an additional tax like mine, wow. It just seems excessive for medical patients to pay an extra 16.8% just because it’s legal for recreational use now.


This post isn’t really as fully formed as some of my other rants, but the point I want to make is that applying this tax to medical patients isn’t OK. I am in a privileged position where this additional tax won’t prevent me from using cannabis as pain medication. It’s certainly discouraging, but it’s not make or break for me. For many cannabis patients, it is.

Hopefully if you agree, you will take a moment to write to your MLA. You can click here to get a pre-written statement in a super easy email generator from Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s