The Canadian federal government and the various provinces have, at last, reached a two-year tax sharing agreement, where the provinces will get 75 per cent of the eventual tax revenues from cannabis and the federal government will get 25 per cent.
It can be recalled that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had, in October, proposed to impose a 10 per cent federal excise tax on the sale price of both recreational and medical marijuana products or C$1 for every gram, whichever is higher. He also proposed that tax revenues be split equally between the federal government and the provinces.
The provinces had earlier rejected this 50-50 sharing proposal, arguing that they will be the one shouldering a bulk of the costs, including that of setting up a distribution framework, regulating the drug, and implementing the rules.
The new agreement was announced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau after a meeting with his territorial and provincial counterparts.
Under the sweetened deal, the federal government gets to keep a 25 per cent share to a maximum of C$78 million per year. Additional revenues are going to be redistributed to the 13 provinces and territories.
Moreover, the federal government is suggesting that the ideal final sale price for one gram of legal recreational cannabis be around $8 so as to avoid black market sales.
Canadians spent just as much on weed as they did on wine
Canada’s bureau of statistics studied cannabis consumption among Canadians and found that in 2015, people spent around C$ billion on cannabis. This amount is almost the same as the amount they spent on wine.
The Statistics Canada report also found that over the years, cannabis use has gone up as it became more popular with adults.
Moreover, the report noted that weed was primarily consumed by the younger set in the 1960s and 1970s. But this has changed in recent years. In 2015, there were only 6 per cent of youngsters aged 15 to 17 who smoked marijuana recreationally, a very small fraction compared to two-thirds of adults aged 26 and above.
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians consumed a total of around 697.5 tonnes of cannabis. The report estimated that this much weed is worth anywhere from C$5 billion to C$6.2 billion.
The researchers estimated the per-gram market value for cannabis to be between C$7.14 and C$8.84 per gram since it is not legal just yet.
The government could stand to earn almost C$700 million per year using this same per-gram market value if it pushes through with its plan to levy an excise tax of 10 per cent of the final retail price or C$1 for every gram. The provinces are going to take home 75 per cent of those revenues.
California-based startup is making breathalyzer for weed
A startup based in Oakland, California, is developing a breathalyzer for marijuana. Specifically, Hound Labs’ breathalyzer will measure the THC levels present in your breath.
Law enforcement officials can use this weed breathalyzer to accurately identify stoned drivers and accurately assess a pot smoker’s inebriation. The device uses a unique method of gauging THC, which is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis. This new breathalyzer, which is expected to hit the market very soon, measures THC particles – in parts per trillion – that are present in the breath.
The ability to more accurately tell if a driver is under the influence of weed has been an issue for law enforcement authorities. They can’t rely on simply smelling pot because it is not accurate and the smell stays for hours. A blood test also does not really give them an accurate measurement because THC has the ability to stay in a person’s system for days.
Hound Labs’ device aims to make up for the shortfalls of other detection methods. It will be able to detect THC in your breath, which means that you have smoked within the past two hours and that you are likely impaired.
News of this new equipment comes as the state gets ready to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018.
Hound Labs is set to test the third and final version of its breathalyzer, which is expected to come out in the market in the second quarter of next year. The Hound Labs breathalyzer will be selling for $500 to $1,000.