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Canadian Medical Marijuana Patients Protest “Sin Tax” in Ottawa

Canadian Medical Marijuana Patients Protest “Sin Tax” in Ottawa

Dina Al-Shibeeb
Canadians protest against federal govt's plan to tax medical marijuana this summer

Canada is planning to tax all forms of marijuana, both medical and recreational, once legalization becomes effective in July.

Medical marijuana patients have protested outside of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Toronto constituency office Friday morning, CP24 reported.

Warren “Smokey” Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, told CP24 during the protest in Ottawa that taxing medical marijuana is an “an egregious error of judgment to tax what is actually a medicine.”

He added: “They don’t tax prescription drugs.”

Canada doesn’t tax prescription drugs. However, as Canada prepares to be the first developed nation to legalize marijuana this summer, the federal government will levy a new excise tax on both medical and recreational.

The tax would amount to no more than $1 a gram, or 10 percent of the sale price.

Screen Shot 2018 01 26 at 1.17.04 PM - Canadian Medical Marijuana Patients Protest “Sin Tax” in Ottawa
Warren “Smokey” Thomas says medical marijuana is medicine and it needs to be treated as such. (Screengrab via CP24)

Thomas’s union represents the staff of the provincially owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

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Meanwhile, Jonathan Zaid, head of the advocacy group Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, told iPolitics on Thursday that cannabis patients are concerned that the new tax is going to make their medicine unaffordable.

“Patients right now feel disheartened and forgotten about in the process of legalization,” he said.

“[They] feel very scared right now. They already have problems affording their medicine and this will only compound those problems.”

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