A group of Canadian cannabis executives has shined a light on what it says are unsustainable federal fees on the nascent industry. The executives are asking the federal government to offer the industry some relief from the federal tax fees amid widespread financial losses and increasing job losses. During a news conference last week, the executives argued that job losses would continue to pile up if the federal government did not make any meaningful reform.
Even though cannabis is legal across dozens of states in the United States and in Canada as well, industry players have been forced to contend with relatively high fees and taxes since the inception of the industry. While cannabis companies have tried to recoup these costs by passing them on to the consumers, this has made legal cannabis several times more expensive than black-market cannabis and helped to bolster the illicit market. The situation has been especially dire in Canada, where cannabis producers have already announced close to 1,000 job losses thus far in the year.
Cannabis Council of Canada CEO George Smitherman stated that the federal government’s fees and taxes had made the cannabis industry unsustainable. He explains that the taxes and fees levied on the marijuana sector made it impossible for the industry to remain sustainable and progress in the long-term. Smitherman said that he would like the government to reduce the 2.3% standard cultivation license fee that is charged on annual gross revenue.
Speaking at the news conference in Ottawa, Smitherman noted that the budget was a prime opportunity for the Canadian government to show its commitment to making cannabis sustainable. This would involve reforming excise taxes on cannabis, he noted, adding that it would involve collaboration between territories, provinces and the national government.
CEO of British Columbia-based Pure Sunfarms Mandesh Dosanjh stated at the conference that the federal government had failed to hold up its end of the deal. He argued that the government had overlooked the cannabis industry and subjected it to enormous regulatory fee burdens and heavy taxes. As a result, these fees and taxes eat into the capital that cannabis producers could use to reinvest in their businesses. For every dollar of revenue cannabis producers earn, Dosanjh explained, 72 cents was collected as tax and fees while producers received only 28 cents.
This had created conditions that allow illegal operators to thrive, he noted, adding that legal businesses didn’t stand a chance in the sector unless the government offers relief and excise reform in the next budget.
The difficulties that cannabis companies are encountering in order to turn a decent profit inevitably also impact ancillary companies that operate in their jurisdictions, such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) since dampened operations in the sector mean that those related companies will not register brisk business for their products.
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