First Nations demanding right to set their own tax on Cannabis

Mar 8 2018, 4:47 pm

Nothing in life is free, and yes, your cannabis is going to be taxed too.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in October 2017 that all recreational cannabis would be hit with a federal excise tax once becoming legalized. This proposal would see each gram sold subject to a tax of $1 on sales up to $10, and a 10 percent tax on sales of more than $10.

While advocates of the plant have been calling foul, the taxation definitely has its pros. The money can be distributed throughout the provinces and territories and put into services for arts, schools, health, and more. In 2016, Oregon raked in over $54 million from taxing pot.

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More recently, there have been some rumbling from the First Nations Tax Commission about the federal excise tax. Manny Jules, chief commissioner of the First Nations Tax Commission, is working with senators so that Bill C-45 will be amended and all taxing authority will be handed over to the First Nations governments. Jules wants the bill changed so First Nations people can impose their own levy on cannabis manufactured and sold on reserves.

For thousands of years, natural tobacco has been an integral part of the Aboriginal culture in many parts of British Columbia and Canada. With research consistently shows that smoking rates among Indigenous communities in Canada are 2-3 times higher than the general population, Jules fears that with the cannabis act coming to pass, they may have another set of problems on their hands. Under Jules’ proposal, the cannabis tax would bring in much-needed revenue to their cash-strapped communities, as well as develop cannabis-related laws and regulations on First Nation reserves.


smoking weed Image: Antic Milos / Shutterstock

It is yet to be decided if senators will accept Jules’ amended changes.

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