The Arthritis Society believes that medical cannabis products in Canada should be sold in pharmacies and the federal government should lift its $1 per gram excise tax, the CBC reports. Jone Mitchell, the Arthritis Society’s executive director for Atlantic Canada, said the changes would put medical cannabis in line with other prescription medications.
“That will ensure that patients receive reliable education from trained health care professionals on the safe and effective use. And they also have an understanding of the other medications their patients may be taking.” — Mitchell, to the CBC
Some medical cannabis patients can get a license to cultivate their own cannabis at home but most have to have products mailed from a licensed supplier, which takes time and picking it up from a pharmacy is quicker and easier, Mitchell said.
The Green Party has included removing the excise tax on their party platform while the Conservative Party said they were reviewing the law, including tax policy, the report says.
In May 2018, Liberal members of parliament’s finance committee voted against an amendment to remove the excise tax, according to a Straight report. Pharmaceuticals containing synthetic cannabinoids with a DIN number – such as Sativex and Nabilone – are not subject to the tax.
During the debate on the proposal, MP Pierre Luc Dusseault of the New Democratic Party rallied against the tax, saying that 4,000 Canadians had written to members of Parliament to oppose the tax and that more than 260,000 people were using cannabis for medical purposes at that time.
In July, Health Canada reported that medical cannabis flower sales dropped 20 percent but concentrate sales rose 19.5 percent. A July survey by Abacus Data commissioned by Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana and the Arthritis Society and the Canadian Pharmacists Association found one in four Canadian patients said medical cannabis was harder to obtain post-legalization.
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