VANCOUVER SUN: A consumer watchdog says the province’s incoming social responsibility fee will only place a burden on the legal cannabis industry and will counterproductive in quelling the black market.

David Clement, North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center, says overtaxing cannabis in the province flies in the face of what the revenue from the promised 6% tax is supposed to do.

The Pallister government introduced legislation on Thursday to create the fee, with the money raised from the tax going to cover public education, safety, health and addictions programming.

Clement says it does the exact opposite.

“It appears both the federal government and various provincial governments, in this case, the Manitoba government, hasn’t realized the role that price plays from diverting people from the black market,” Clement said. “In terms of prices, we have to have a pricing system that competes with the black market. When you add a 6% social responsibility fee on top of the 10% excise tax… the 5% GST, on top of a half-billion dollars applied at different levels in production, it creates a situation that we might be passing policies that are counterproductive to the goal of taking consumers away from the black market.”

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