Ted Smith, Founder of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada
By Editorial – Saanich News
Published: September 11, 2012 8:00 AM
Updated: September 11, 2012 8:50 AM
Editorial: Tax on medical pot no joke for users
When a club that sells medical marijuana completely spaces out on paying $150,000 in income taxes, stoner jokes aren’t far behind.
But for the thousands of people who use marijuana to ease chronic pain from illness and side effects of legal medication, the possibility of losing ready access to medical pot doesn’t bring out the giggles.
Leon “Ted” Smith and his Victoria-based Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada has sold marijuana products for 16 years to thousands of people who can prove they have certain permanent diseases or chronic ailment.
Smith admits in the media and on his website that he’s avoided paying taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency for years and wrote: “(I) assumed I would end up in jail for it.”
This kind of sloppy bookkeeping does little to improve the public image of selling or using medical marijuana. Hopefully this won’t undo the good work Smith has done helping suffering people and challenging ethically-dubious laws that snares marijuana in a grey area of legality.
Indeed, among the number of court cases involving Smith and the CBCC, this year a trial involving the CBCC’s head baker had restrictive parts of federal medical marijuana law deemed unconstitutional.
Cannabis Buyers’ Club to Incorporate
By Ted Smith
It was not a surprise when Special Enforcement Officers from the Canada Revenue Agency showed up at the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada in early May to announce that I was under investigation. After over 16 years of being very public about selling cannabis products to sick people, and recently changing federal laws in Owen Smith’s trial, we have gained a lot of attention.
Anyone who read the court decision of Apr. 13, 2012 quickly saw why the CRA would come knocking. Here are the two paragraphs that they would be interested in: “ Mr Ted Smith estimates that the store generates revenue of about $6,000 to $6,500 per day. He estimates that between 5% and 10% of that volume represents edible and other products, not dried marijuana, and says this proportion is closer to the 5% lower end. Mr Ted Smith aims for a profit margin of between 20% and 25%  Neither the store nor the Club collects or remits HST, nor does the business pay income taxes.”
Apparently it was the police who informed the CRA about this decision. There is an interesting relationship between the police and the CRA. The CRA is not allowed to disclose information to the police but the police constantly give names and information to CRA agents in an attempt to squeeze money from people suspected of breaking the law.
Even if a person admits on their tax forms to being a thug for a living, the CRA would do nothing about their crimes. However, they could look at the thug’s list of clients to see how they make enough money to pay him to put people in the hospital. It does not matter to the CRA if the business is legal or not—they want their taxes. Read the rest of this entry »
Changes to medical pot program could double costs, users say
OTTAWA – Proposed reforms to the federal government’s medical marijuana program would make it illegal for licensed users to grow their own drugs and transfer distribution responsibility to compassion clubs, some pharmacies and other community dispensaries.
But members of the Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Alliance of Canada (MCPAC) say the changes, which are slated to come into effect in 2014, will see the prices rise to more than double the street value and exponentially more than what it costs them to grow it themselves, effectively barring them from the drugs they say they need in order to live without constant pain.
“There are no medical remedies that mean we can live with some level of comfort, other than marijuana,” MCPAC member Alexander Daviau said during a press conference with others who will be affected by the changes. “By removing our ability to grow our own, they are setting the price more than twice the street value, which will force some people back to the streets. As of 2014 I won’t be able to afford my meds anymore.”
Steve Outhouse, communications director for Health Minister Leona Aglukkuq, said while the exact pricing has yet to be seen, “it is logical there would be some increased cost compared to growing your own. But we still want them to be able to get the drugs they need.”
Health Canada says the proposed reforms are in response to concerns expressed “by Canadians” about abuses of the medical marijuana program and exploitation by criminal elements. It held online and in-person consultations between June and November last year with firefighters, law enforcement, pharmacists and some compassion clubs.
Everyone but the users themselves, Daviau said.
“Health Canada met the stakeholders, they said, they met with law enforcement,” Daviau said. “But they ignored the patients.”