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Governments earned $186M in pot taxes in 5 months of legalization: StatCan

Last Updated Jun 19, 2019 at 1:20 pm MDT

Cannabis sits in a sample display in Winnipeg on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says federal and provincial governments earned $186 million in cannabis-related revenue in the first five-and-a-half months since legalization in October.

The Ottawa-based agency says this revenue came from product-specific excise taxes and general taxes on goods and services such as the Harmonized Sales Tax.

The federal government drew $19 million in excise taxes, while provincial governments got $79 million from excise taxes and related adjustments.

Statistics Canada says revenues from general taxes on goods and services brought in an additional $36 million at the federal level and $53 million via direct provincial general taxes on goods and services.

It added that excise taxes increased by 12.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the fourth quarter of 2018 on higher sales by licensed producers to distributors.

The Conference Board of Canada’s economist Robyn Gibbard says these first-ever government tax figures are lower than expected, in part due to the “bumpy” rollout of legalization last fall, but governments can expect strong growth in revenues going forward.

The Canadian Press