Pot price pondered by politicians, potential retailers
Published Monday, November 13, 2017 5:41PM CST
Last Updated Monday, November 13, 2017 6:57PM CST
Jeremy Loewen would like to offer his customers marijuana once it's legal July 1, 2018.
The owner of headshop Hemp Haven says the move would be a natural progression for his business.
"I've been involved in this for 25 years, I think this is just the next step the next level," said Loewen
As the province announced last week, pot sales in Manitoba will be permitted in private stores. Prices will include taxes.
Ottawa is proposing a $1.00 per gram tax plus GST. The province could also tack on PST.
A federal report last year estimates the current street value of pot in Manitoba is around $9.82 per gram.
Without knowing what the provincial wholesale price is going be set at for retailers, Loewen is concerned. He cautions the final legal price with taxes included has to be lower than the black market or stores won't be able to compete.
"Price dictates it all, guaranteed, you know some people are still going to continue to buy off their friend cause it's going to be cheap," said Lowen
On Friday, Premier Brian Pallister raised red flags about the federal tax proposal over pricing concerns.
"This would be a plan which gang distributors and black market distributors would appreciate because it will keep the distribution system as is," said Pallister.
But Colorado's former director of marijuana coordination says the $1.00 per gram tax is reasonable. Andrew Freedman says in Colorado where marijuana has been legal since 2014, price isn't the only factor for customers.
"There becomes value to branding, there becomes value to knowing that it's tested for pesticides, that it's a safe buying experience, well lit, recorded with licensed dealers,” said Freedman.
Despite the yet to be determined legal price in Manitoba, Jeremy Loewen is keeping an open mind.
"I'm optimistic on the whole thing, if they want to seriously cut out the black market then you got to follow suit and you got to say what you're going to do and undercut," said Loewen.
Ottawa is set to hear feedback on the tax proposal until Dec. 7.