Affordability of cannabis as a medicine is a big concern among patients. Even though Canada allows cannabis as a medical expense on tax returns, the costs associated with growing cannabis at home (e.g. fertilizer, lighting, containers) remain excluded. For some, the costs of medication may mean a tradeoff between paying for bills or for medicines.
Under the current system, dried cannabis flower and oils are taxed at $1 per gram or 10 percent excise tax, whichever is higher. Add another 13 to 15 percent for GST and provincial taxes, this combines to as high as 25 percent in taxes depending on the province. Some patients will find this extra cost harder to cover than others.
With the new regulations on taxing infused edibles, hemp and cannabis edible products infused with CBD will not be subject to excise tax. For THC, however, there is a one cent per milligram excise tax applicable on the total amount of THC, rather than based on the weight of the cannabis. Although this is good news for edible CBD consumers, patients with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis who count on THC may feel left out or disadvantaged. The patient advocacy group Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana has called on the federal government to remove all taxes on medical cannabis.
Growing your own medical cannabis is a therapy in itself. Since 2016, Canadian patients are allowed to grow their own medical cannabis for personal use. This allows you to lower the cost of your medicine as well as choosing exactly what you consume and how you grow it. It is forbidden to sell the cannabis produced but you can transform it into any medicinal product you desire for your own needs.