The Manitoba government has introduced legislation under the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority Act that would remove the social responsibility fee currently paid by all provincially licensed cannabis retailers for sales, effective Jan.1, 2023.
In a media release today, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said, "Given the many unknowns surrounding federal legalization of non-medical cannabis in 2018, our government introduced the six per cent social responsibility fee as a way to ensure retailers were contributing to the social costs, such as public education, safety and health care associated with legal cannabis consumption."
Legalization was displacing a well-entrenched illicit market, the minister noted, adding the Manitoba government had to proceed in a prudent manner to ensure the legal market regulated by the province would encroach on the illicit market. To date, over 50 per cent of the legal market has replaced illegal product.
"Four years into legalization, the cannabis market is maturing and the regulatory costs to the province have stabilized, leading to the repeal of the social responsibility fee and a new taxation regime for the long term," said Friesen.
Under the proposed legislation, cannabis retailers would no longer be required to remit the fee for sales that take effect starting Jan.1, 2023. Social responsibility fees for the 2022 calendar year would need to be remitted to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries by June 2023.
The Manitoba government will continue to monitor legalization outcomes and continue to make evidence-based decisions going forward based on what is working and changing what is not working, the minister said. The Manitoba government's priority remains the elimination of the illegal market and making sure that all cannabis products, including edibles, are regulated in a way that protects public safety and vulnerable populations like youth, the minister added.
For more information about cannabis in Manitoba, visit www.mbll.ca/content/cannabis-facts-tips-resources