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Drugs

Ontario Could Sell Weed For $10 a Gram

The province says it’s possible weed will generate $100 million a year in tax revenue.

by Manisha Krishnan
Sep 21 2017, 5:14pm

Photo via Flickr user DankDepot

The Ontario government is considering pricing weed at around $10 a gram once legalization takes place next year, according to Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

Sousa made the comments while speaking to reporters at the legislature Wednesday.

He said that figure is "certainly something that we're giving consideration to" and that provinces are aiming for some consistency when it comes to things like pricing.

When Ontario announced its plans to sell weed through an LCBO-controlled system earlier this month, Sousa said taxation and pricing would be decided on this fall. He also noted that the price of weed will have to be low enough to make a dent in the black market but not so high that it will "encourage" consumption.

Dispensaries around Toronto, of which there are currently around 80, typically sell weed for $8-$12 a gram, depending on the strain.

Sousa's comments come after New Brunswick announced a multi-million-dollar deal with two licensed producers, Canopy Growth and Organigram, to supply the recreational market there. The deal is estimated to bring $80-$100 million in revenue to New Brunswick in its first year. Sousa said Ontario can potentially expect around $100 million in gross tax revenue a year.

That figure is low when you consider Canada's black market for weed is estimated to be worth around $7 billion. Weed dispensary employees who have previously spoken to VICE have said they make anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 in a single day.

Last year, legal weed sales in Denver passed $1 billion and resulted in more than $200 million in tax revenue. Colorado, which allows private weed sales, has a population 5.5 million people versus around 13.6 million in Ontario.

Ontario's plan to set up 40 standalone stores next year to sell weed has been heavily criticized, with many in the industry pointing out that it won't meet demand and is unlikely to stamp out the black market.

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