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Pot of gold: Canada to raise $800M in taxes from legalizing marijuana

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By: Agence France-Presse

Soon-to-be legal recreational marijuana sales in Canada could bring up to Can$1 billion (US$800 million) annually into government coffers, an official said Friday.

“If the market is somewhere in the neighborhood of 400,000 kilos (440 tons)… then the tax impact of that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of Can$1 billion,” said MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who has been tasked with overseeing the setup of the new regime.

“That’s a very high estimate, in my opinion,” he added, stressing that the actual size of the recreational pot market is not yet known.

Ottawa is scheduled to legalize cannabis next July after having already permitted its use for medical care.

One of the major considerations in the country’s cannabis taxation policy is to keep costs low enough to undercut the illicit pot market.

The authorities have proposed a 10 percent excise tax on marijuana in addition to applying sales taxes of up to 15 percent, with amounts varying across jurisdictions.

The proceeds would be split with the provinces, which have announced a patchwork of public and private sector retail sales for cannabis.