Cannabis retailers in Manitoba are to expect another tax on their business. This time it's a 6% levy to cover the province's 'social costs' of legalizing marijuana.
Is it fair that retailers should have to bear the costs of education, safety, health, and addiction? Some are opposing the tax; others are simply "getting on with it."
What's going on?
Manitoba Cannabis Tax
Beginning in January 2019, the Manitoba government will start collecting the "social responsibility fee."
The revenue will be spent on public education, safety, health, and addictions.
At the moment, this new Manitoba cannabis tax is 6% of a cannabis retailer's gross revenue from recreational sales. However, that percentage can easily change if the social costs warrant it.
Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said that if the social costs are higher or lower than expected, it will affect the percentage. But in essence, "it can go as high as the government wants it to go."
Currently, Manitoba cannot estimate how much revenue this cannabis tax will bring in—it's too early to say.
Additionally, the legalization of cannabis edibles—due in approximately one year's time—will more than likely add another retailer tax.
As it stands, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries charge retailers $0.75 CAD per gram plus 9% for managing the distribution of marijuana from growers to sellers.
So Far So Good in Manitoba
Nobody likes tax, but Manitoba seems to be getting on with it. In fact, it is dealing with recreational legality rather well. The province did not experience the same product shortages as other jurisdictions, and the policing agents have not noticed any spike in their work.
Manitoba is a province where many of its people were already using or were, at least, already familiar with the drug. As Cullen stated further:
"Listen, people are already using cannabis. The sky isn't going to fall on October 17th, and I think that's the reality [...] Manitobans are just dealing with it."
Do you think the Manitoba cannabis tax is fair?