Dan Sutton, the BC-based CEO and founder of craft cultivators Tantalus Labs, is a man of his word: After sharing his plans to organize and advocate for lower excise taxes on Canadian cannabis, yesterday he launched Stand For Craft, a website that explains how high tax rates are hurting small- and medium-sized cultivators and encourages consumers and industry members to send a form email that will reach more than 100 stakeholders, such as provincial and federal regulators.
A lot of pain with little gain
Craft cultivators pay excise taxes between 20 and 30 per cent of top line revenues, according to the site — which translates to a shockingly low profit of just one cent per gram for an eighth (half-quarter) if it’s priced at $25.
“We do not tax any other product in Canada so heavily, and current excise burdens are killing craft business,” pleads the site. “We need change now, and we need your voice to engage decision makers in government.”
Not the first time for excise tax advocacy
While fellow craft cannabis colleagues, insiders and consumers threw their support behind the effort on social media, some expressed mixed feelings about the initiative and the loud support for less pressure on craft cultivators — something medical cannabis advocates have been trying to garner support for for some time.
“Of course it took a ‘help small business’ re-brand for people to [care] about the excise tax again,” tweeted Leafly Canada editor Ashley Keenan, pointing at previous efforts to reduce excise taxes on behalf of medical cannabis consumers. “Don’t worry, patients knew you didn’t care when it didn’t affect you.”
Trickle down effects
Yet at these margins, it’s tough to ignore that the prospect of extinction for some of these companies is real — and lower taxes could benefit the consumer, too.
“An ounce has $30 flat tax on it plus additional tax depending on province,” tweeted Kieley Beaudry, CEO of Parkland Flower. “You can get $70 ounces of old weed right now. Imagine getting $70/oz craft grown [fire] weed.”