Connecticut lawmakers are considering adding a 6 percent sales tax to medical cannabis products, but the plan didn’t gain much traction during a public hearing on Friday, according to a report from CTNewsJunkie. Patients in the state already pay $100 annually to register with the program and an average of $150 for an annual medical appointment for physician certification.
Tom Schulz, president of licensed producer Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions, told the committee that if sales taxes are levied it could “push people back to the black market,” adding that the average patient purchases 2.5 ounces per month which runs about $200 to $400.
“We are worried that the surcharge could exacerbate the price differential between the pharmaceutical grade medical marijuana that is available through the program versus what is available on the street,” he said in the report. “This price differential would tend to drive the use of marijuana that is often unsafe or contaminated.”
Margherita Giuliano, executive vice president of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association, offered written testimony to the House Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee explaining that many of the 17,000 enrolled patients are “suffering from severe illnesses” and low-income due to their disabilities.
“This is a measure that would impose additional financial hardship on Connecticut citizens, particularly our patients, who already spend a significant portion of their income on medical care,” she wrote. “Many are disabled, from low-income families, or already seeking end-of-life care. The burden of additional taxation on these individuals is unjust, especially in light of the fact that medical marijuana is not covered by insurance and thus, patients are paying for it out-of-pocket.”
According to the bill text – introduced by Republican Rep. Vincent Candelora – the funds would be used for drug abuse treatment programs.
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