Premier Sandy Silver says he’s not happy with the federal government’s proposed marijuana excise tax that would see the revenue it generates split 50/50 between the federal and the provincial/territorial governments.
“We believe that our expenses are a lot more than the federal government’s expenses,” Silver told local media Wednesday.
He wouldn’t specify what percentage he would like to see the provinces and territories receive of the tax’s profits.
The premier did say that they will be shouldering the majority of the costs associated with the legalization of marijuana by July 1, 2018.
“No jurisdiction in Canada ... thinks that this is going to be a cash grab. It’s not,” he said.
The provinces and territories will be responsible for much of the infrastructure used for legal cannabis distribution, he explained.
They will also deal with marijuana education and new pressure on health and social services.
Therefore, the federal government needs to reconsider how much of the revenue from the proposed tax the provinces and territories ought to receive.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the tax proposal after a meeting with premiers Tuesday in Ottawa.
It would see $1 taxed per gram of marijuana purchased up to $10, after which it would rise to 10 per cent of the total price.
According to Silver, neither the federal government nor the premiers are interested in charging more or less than the parameters proposed on that specific tax.
Provinces and territories can, however, decide to apply additional taxation to the sale of marijuana in their own jurisdictions.
“If you keep on increasing that tax, then you decrease the chunk you’re going to take out of the organized crime,” Silver said.
Eliminating the cannabis black market is the exclusive goal of legalization, according to the premier.
He said he also believes the mandatory minimum age to purchase legal cannabis should mirror that of a province or territory’s liquor age restrictions.
“Just for ease of implementation. The easier you make the implementation, the less it’s going to cost, therefore the less onus is going to be on increasing fees or increasing those tax percentages.”
A Yukon government survey on cannabis legalization in the territory closed last Saturday.
More than 3,100 surveys were completed since its launch on Aug. 10, making it “the most successful survey undertaken by the Government of Yukon,” according to a press release.
Its results will be posted to the Department of Health and Social Services website by Nov. 15.