CAN: "Cannabis sector rails against unfair taxes and fees"

Cannabis executives, entrepreneurs, and advocates took aim at unfair and high taxes as well as government fees and mark-ups at the Lift cannabis business conference in Vancouver.

Some taxes came under fire because they are targeted at the cannabis sector and not at the alcohol or tobacco industries, while others were criticized for being much higher than the government originally intended or for working against various governments' stated goals. 

Cannabis Council of Canada CEO George Smitherman showed a slide indicating that Health Canada collected $75,683,891 from its 2.3-per-cent regulatory fee from cannabis companies in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. That same year it collected no money at all in regulatory fees from tobacco or alcohol ventures. 

The intent of the fee is to help the government administer licensing and other expenses. He said cannabis sector regulatory fees are likely closing in on $100 million in the current fiscal year.

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