Editorial: Tax on medical pot no joke for users

When a club that sells medical marijuana completely spaces out on paying $150,000 in income taxes, stoner jokes aren’t far behind.

When a club that sells medical marijuana completely spaces out on paying $150,000 in income taxes, stoner jokes aren’t far behind.

But for the thousands of people who use marijuana to ease chronic pain from illness and side effects of legal medication, the possibility of losing ready access to medical pot doesn’t bring out the giggles.

Leon “Ted” Smith and his Victoria-based Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada has sold marijuana products for 16 years to thousands of people who can prove they have certain permanent diseases or chronic ailment.

Smith admits in the media and on his website that he’s avoided paying taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency for years and wrote: “(I) assumed I would end up in jail for it.”

This kind of sloppy bookkeeping does little to improve the public image of selling or using medical marijuana. Hopefully this won’t undo the good work Smith has done helping suffering people and challenging ethically-dubious laws that snares marijuana in a grey area of legality.

Indeed, among the number of court cases involving Smith and the CBCC, this year a trial involving the CBCC’s head baker had restrictive parts of federal medical marijuana law deemed unconstitutional.

This is typical of laws that try to have it both ways. Health Canada allows people to purchase and/or grow marijuana for medical purposes, which is a tacit admission that marijuana can help some sick people – while the agency discourages its use. Doctors in B.C. can prescribe marijuana, but the doctors’ college discourages that due to legal liability and a lack of scientific studies.

Sick people having some access to pot is better than none, but inconsistent messages from health authorities and the federal government opens the door for advocates such as Smith to operate businesses that are effectively illegal.

As Smith noted, out of his tax troubles the club will become a non-profit, run by a board. This is good news for the many legitimate pot users in this city who don’t have to risk the dangers of buying from dealers on the street.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney part of a region that suffers ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Consultants find that Sidney needs 233 new spaces to meet the current demand for daycare

HMCS Victoria popping up as training sessions underway

MARPAC says plume of smoke normal for recharging submarine

Friday night tickets affect Saturday behaviour at the University of Victoria

Saanich police see direct response after issuing several $230 fines

Thieves harvest from 11 unlocked cars in Oak bay

Looting unlocked cars called ‘farming,’ says deputy chief

West Shore RCMP seeks video footage after homeowner interrupts Colwood break and enter

Police were called to 600-block of Stornoway Drive late Sunday

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

COVID-19 liquor, music rules extended with fines

‘Nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs’

Carole James heads ‘caretaker’ B.C. government

James is among 15 MLAs retiring at the end of their current term

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Most Read