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Highlights
  1. Aurora wants government to drop medical cannabis excise
  2. Medical marijuana tax could burden sector – Aurora CCO
  3. Slow licensing forces patients to black market - MCRCI

Aurora, one of Canada’s biggest licensed producers, is lobbying the federal government to remove the tax from medical marijuana, which was slapped with the same excise that recreational sales are subject to when the Cannabis Act came into effect in October.

“We Canadians, we’re the pioneers in this. We need to get rid of the tax on medical cannabis and we need to win that fight,” said Cam Battley, chief corporate officer for Aurora, speaking at the O’Cannabiz conference in Vancouver on Monday.

Later on the conference sidelines, Mr. Battley told Cannabis Professional that Aurora is actively lobbying the government to remove the excise.

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“There should be no tax on medical cannabis,” he said, adding he is trying to make this clear to the government.

“If we burden the sector too early too much in the way of taxes, we run the risk of forcing medical patients to pay the government (for their prescriptions). That’s just unconscionable.”

Conference attendees made several references to the federal government’s bureaucracy, citing it as an obstacle to the country’s newest industry, particularly with regards to providing enough licenses to producers as one cause for tight medical supplies amid strong demand for recreational products.

Abbotsford-based lawyer John Conroy said an ever-increasing number of medicinal users desperate to get product are seeking it out on the black market and that shouldn’t be happening.

“Life, liberty and security should be in the best interest of medicinal users but the government is letting them down through its tedious slow licensing regulations and doing little to sort out the supply problem,” Mr. Conroy said.

The government should immediately move to license bone fide sellers who can guarantee quality product, on an interim basis, until Ottawa sorts out the licensing and supply mess, Mr. Conroy said.

“Every day we receive more reports from our clients indicating they are going to where they can get cannabis regardless of the quality. In other words the black market,” said Terry Roycroft, president of Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre Inc. (MCRCI).

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“That is not the way it is supposed to work and needs urgent government action.”

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