Some potentially good news for pot smokers’ pocketbooks: The federal government is signalling it wants to keep grass taxes low.
Finance minister Bill Morneau says when it comes to developing a tax regime for marijuana, he has one goal and that is squeezing out the black market.
That means that raking in the green for federal coffers will likely end up taking a back seat in the plan.
Those comments are a strong hint that Ottawa favours lower taxes on marijuana, to keep the price competitive against the street value and force the local pusher out of business.
Across the U.S. border, that’s exactly what pot regulators are working towards.
Robert Goulding is with the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division and says progress is being made in chipping away at the black market.
“I really think it can. The voters, when they decided that they wanted to vote in favour of some kind of legal, regulated market in Colorado certainly determined that that was in [their] best interests. And I think from a public policy perspective it is an ultimate objective; public safety, public health are our biggest priorities as a state.”
The comments come in the wake of a C.D. Howe report this month which argued 90 per cent of the illegal market could be knocked out with pot priced at $9 per gram, should the feds only apply existing sales taxes.
“We do think we’ve been on a successful trajectory in applying taxes in an appropriate and effective way,” says Goulding.
It found the regime would produce $675-million a year in federal and provincial revenues.
With files from Jeremy Lye and the Canadian Press