Hundreds of cannabis dispensaries are currently open across Canada, with new ones that are continually seeking to open as well and establish footing within the market. And the government is cashing-in big from all of these “illegal” pot shops in the nation. “They’re not quaking in their boots when the police come, they’re quaking in their boots when the taxman comes,” said Don Briere, who heads a national chain of cannabis retail shops. “Nobody is pressuring us to pay taxes… We are paying income tax, we are paying corporate income tax, we are paying property tax.. we are paying UIC, we are paying Canada pension, GST and PST…” says Briere. In their last corporate year alone they’ve paid roughly $700,000 in taxes to the government. “
According to the Income Tax Act and to the Excise Tax Act, all income, either from legal or illegal activities, is taxable and is to be reported,” said a Canada Revenue Agency spokesman. Currently, cannabis still illegal for many within the nation as it is only deemed “legal” if the individual has a doctor’s prescription and has purchased it from one of only 33 growers who have been licensed by Health Canada.
So while the Trudeau government continues to condemn the shops, they are sure making a lot of profit off of them. Despite calls for pardons and immediate decriminalization, the Liberal government has said that Canadians will have to wait until next year for legalization to be fulfilled. Briere estimates that he might earn at least $20 million this year for which he says he will be contributing another pile of “illegal” cash to the state.