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Five years after the Canadian government legalized the production and sale of cannabis, the industry is facing so many challenges that some growers will fail.
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Clarenville on Wednesday, March 15, a cannabis grower from Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula told him, “The only ones winning are the governments, provincial and federal.”
Federal excise taxes on cannabis crops, lack of government funding opportunities for growers and competition from the black market are among some of the factors hindering profit margins, she said.
Taylor Giovannini converted a vacant fish plant in Burin to grow marijuana and her company — Oceanic Releaf — operates nine retail stores across Newfoundland and Labrador.
She told SaltWire Network that because of those retail operations she’s doing better than most cannabis growers.
Still, she said, the excise taxes are taking a big bite out of their revenue.
“The federal excise tax is way too much,” she said, noting some growers pay about $1 in tax for every gram of cannabis produced.
Oceanic Releaf, she said, pays more than $300,000 a month in taxes — $180,000 to the province and $150,000 to Ottawa.
Then there’s the stigma, said Giovannini.
“The only ones winning are the governments, provincial and federal.”
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