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LEADING PATIENT GROUPS RESPOND TO CANNABIS EXCISE TAX PROPOSAL Organizations seek to have medical cannabis exempt from excise and sales tax – like all other prescription medicines.

November 10, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – Earlier today, the Department of Finance of Canada announced their proposal to apply excise tax to both non-medical and medical cannabis. The Arthritis Society and CFAMM have been advocating for the zero-rated taxation of medical cannabis and earmarked investments for medically-focused research. For the past three years, the two organizations have been leaders in representing medical cannabis patients’ issues including research and access.

While we recognize and welcome continued consultations, we believe the government’s announcement to apply excise tax to medical cannabis unfairly disadvantages patients. Applying any tax to medically prescribed cannabis is inconsistent with the taxation of prescription medicines, which are tax exempt.

In combination with severely limited insurance coverage and the application of sales tax, the affordability of medical cannabis is already a significant issue. Today, patients are forced to make treatment choices based on finances, including switching to less effective medications with severe side effects, such as opioids. The proposed application of excise tax to medical cannabis will further compound these issues and will impose significant barriers for patient access. The organizations will continue to collaborate with the government to ensure patients have affordable and reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes.  


“The use of medical cannabis should be recognized in line with all other prescription medications and accordingly exempt from taxation. Patients have a fundamental right to have access to affordable medicine.”

   Jonathan Zaid, Founder & Executive Director, CFAMM

“There is an urgent need for investment in medical cannabis research to improve patient care.  Today’s announcement misses the opportunity to devote a portion of the excise tax revenues to medical cannabis research.”

   Janet Yale, CEO, The Arthritis Society