BC Vape Tax Hurts Consumers, Will Fuel Unregulated Cannabis Market

OTTAWA – November 14, 2019 – The Cannabis Council of Canada is strongly opposed to British Columbia’s decision to increase the provincial sales tax (PST) on cannabis vaporizer (or vape) products from 7% to 20%. This course of action will only serve to fuel the unregulated market, making it more challenging for licensed producers to produce and sell products in a regulated and responsible environment and make it more expensive for consumers to access this emerging market.

One of the stated goals of cannabis legalization is to displace the illegal, unregulated and unsafe cannabis unregulated market. Vaporizing or “vaping” is an increasingly popular way to consume cannabis products and provides an alternative to smoking for adult-use and medical consumers. Vaporizing devices can be used to consume dried cannabis flower or concentrates, such as oil.

“We strongly urge the BC government to reconsider their PST rate increase. Dramatically increasing taxes on cannabis vape products will allow the unregulated market to continue to flourish with its low prices and decrease options for regulated and reliable products from licensed producers.” said Cannabis Council of Canada’s Board Chair Megan McCrae.

In the government’s announcement on forthcoming legislation, products that have been referenced by Health Minister Adrian Dix are entirely the result of the illegal market that is unregulated and unsafe for Canadians. Legal products from licensed Canadian cannabis producers won’t be available until December 17, 2019 at the earliest.

With today’s announcement, the BC government is signalling to consumers that if they intend to vape cannabis, their illegal, unregulated market dealer will be a cheaper option. The health risks associated with purchasing and using cannabis products from illicit sources cannot be understated: The Cannabis Council of Canada strongly supports the regulation of licensed cannabis producers to help ensure access to regulated products for Canadian consumers.

“The over-regulation and over-taxation of legal cannabis has to stop. It is imperilling the success of legalization,” said Cameron Bishop, Vice Chair of the Cannabis Council of Canada, “When policymakers take actions such as the one taken today by the BC government, they risk kneecapping the ability of industry to continue creating jobs, contributing to the economy and to ultimately defeating the illicit market and keeping cannabis out of the hands of young people. The ultimate loser is the law-abiding cannabis consumer in both the adult-use and medical-use markets.”

The Cannabis Council of Canada encourages all levels of government to ramp up education to Canadians about the differences between illicit and regulated cannabis products to help legal consumers make informed decisions. As well, Cannabis Canada stands ready to work with federal, provincial and territorial governments to improve cannabis literacy.

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About the Cannabis Council of Canada

The Cannabis Council of Canada ('C3') is the national and international representative of Canada’s licensed producers and processors of cannabis. C3’s mission is to promote industry standards, support the development, growth, and integrity of the regulated cannabis industry, and serve as an important resource on issues related to responsible use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes.

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