Photo: Lars Hagberg Archives Agence France-Presse
Once again, Quebec returned to the charge to ask Ottawa to delay by one year implementation of the law regulating the cannabis, planned for 1st July next.
Such a deferral would allow Quebec to better do its homework and, especially, to settle with his federal counterpart the sharing of costs and revenue, commented on Wednesday the minister responsible for the file, Lucie Charlebois, the minister of Finance, Carlos Leitao.
The minister Charlebois will introduce Thursday his bill to create the future of the québec Society of cannabis, and to clarify how Québec intends to regulate the production, sale and use of cannabis beginning July 1, 2018.
A few months of maturity, the delicate question of the financing of this measure remains a dispute, federal-provincial, argued the minister, in point of press. In fact, nothing has yet been done in this chapter.
It is not even yet at the beginning of the beginning [of discussions with Ottawa].
The quebec minister of Finance, Carlos Leitão
“If we had one more year, this would allow us first to resolve the issue of funding which has not been settled to this day “, she lamented.
The minister noted that once the law is adopted, the federal government will not have to incur costs, in contrast to provinces, which will have to pay the bills related to all the steps in the application of this controversial law.
The minister of Finance, Carlos Leitão, went a step further by deploring also that the financial issue was still outstanding.
He recalled that last June the ministers of Finance of the country had asked for a delay in Ottawa. The answer was clear : “No question. “
As these are the provinces which will be responsible for the costs of implementation of this measure, it is not a question of accepting a sharing 50-50 of the excise tax between Ottawa and the provinces, as has been suggested by the federal government, ” said Mr Leitão.
“It is not even yet at the beginning of the beginning” of discussions with Ottawa on these issues, he said.
The minister Leitão said they want to ensure that the final price paid by the consumer, which will include the excise tax and possibly the GST and the QST, will not promote the black market.
The topic will be discussed at the next meeting of the federal-provincial Finance ministers that will take place on 12 December in Ottawa.