Feb 05, 2019, 07:30 ET
TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2019 /CNW/ – Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) is going on the offensive and urging Canadians to stand with patients and their families by telling government: #DontTaxMedicine! With the 2019 Federal Budget being announced at the end of February, CFAMM is doubling down on its commitment and calls on the Finance Minister and Members of Parliament to remove all taxes on medical cannabis before the budget is finalized.
“After 31 years working for the police service, medical cannabis has been essential in treating my PTSD,” said Vincent Lefaive, retired Durham Regional Police Service sergeant and medical cannabis patient. “Taxes on medical cannabis reminds me that many Canadians who depend on this important treatment are struggling with the cost of their medicine.”
More than 330,000 Canadians rely on medical cannabis, which is authorized by health care professionals to treat serious medical conditions. Unlike other prescription drugs on which neither excise tax or HST is charged, medical cannabis is being taxed by federal and provincial governments. CFAMM maintains that this necessary treatment is being taxed because of moral judgment, greed, and government overreach.
“In some provinces, sales and excise tax combine to increase the cost of medical cannabis by up to 25 per cent. The government is making it incredibly hard for patients to manage the cost of their treatment and many tell us they cannot afford anywhere near their full dose,” said CFAMM President and medical cannabis patient, James O’Hara. “Over-taxing leads to under-dosing, which can aggravate symptoms, leading to additional strain onto Canadian public health systems. These costs are passed on to all taxpayers.”
A 2018 Environics poll found that a majority of Canadians (62%) are opposed to taxing medical cannabisi and since its launch in 2017, #DontTaxMedicine mobilized supporters to send 25,000 emails to elected officials advocating for the elimination of this unjust tax. The campaign is doubling down on its efforts throughout February to rally even greater support and urge Parliament to remove these taxes before the announcement of the 2019 budget.
“The potential benefits of medical cannabis combined with an aging population gives federal and provincial governments an opportunity to be proactive and reduce future costs on the healthcare system,” said James O’Hara. “Taxes on medical cannabis hurts patients, their families and impacts all Canadians – it’s time to take action.”
We urge all Canadians to stand with patients and tell our federal and provincial governments: Don’t Tax Medicine! Go to https://DontTaxMedicine.ca to write a letter or social post to your local MP, provincial MPP/MLA, and members of the House Standing Committee on Finance, urging them to remove all taxes on medical cannabis.
About Taxes on Medical Cannabis
Medical Cannabis product sales are taxable under the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), and are paid directly by consumers at the point of sale. Prescription medication, medical devices, and even basic groceries do not have sales tax charged on them. Removing sales tax would be consistent with how we treat most prescription medicines.
The federal government currently requires that cannabis producers charge all medical cannabis patients an excise tax of at least 10 percent. HST is then charged on the sum of the base price of the medicine plus excise tax, forcing medical cannabis patients to pay additional tax on the excise tax applied to their treatment. Gasoline, rubber, and fuel-inefficient vehicles are some of the goods subject to excise tax in Canada. Medicine has no place on this list.
For more information, visit https://DontTaxMedicine.ca
About Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana
Founded in 2014, Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) is a federal non-profit, non-partisan, patient-run organization dedicated to protecting and improving the rights of medical cannabis patients. CFAMM’s goal is to enable patients to obtain fair and safe access to medical cannabis with a special focus on affordability. For more information, visit http://www.cfamm.ca.
Environics Research: Conducted online between January 5th to January 7th 2018 using Environics’ online panel partners, with a sample of 1,514 Canadians.
SOURCE Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM)
For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Beverly Brooks, Brooks Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-546-2336; Or Max Monahan-Ellison, Head of Strategy and Communications – CFAMM, email@example.com
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