Proposal to abolish medical cannabis tax fails to become Conservative Party policy

| David Brown

A proposal to consider the abolition of tax on cannabis for medical purposes did not have a chance to become official party policy at the Conservative Party convention over the weekend. 

The proposal would have called on the Conservative Party of Canada to adopt a policy that would “abolish the excise tax on medical cannabis, fostering compassionate patient care and promoting its potential as a ‘Made in Canada’ safer alternative to addictive opioids.” 

Policy 1849 had passed the first stage of voting and was then heard as a regional priority from New Brunswick in a breakout session on Friday. However, the proposal did not make it past that stage. Had it passed, it would have had a chance to proceed to the convention floor for a final vote on Saturday, September 9.  

Tanner Stewart, who helped bring the proposal forward, says he is disappointed the proposal didn’t make it to the floor, but feels it was still a worthwhile effort to spread awareness of the issue. Stewart is the founder of Stewart Farms, a cannabis producer in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

“This weekend I stood with two great men, veteran Trapper Cane and MP Scott Ried, at the CPC policy convention in Quebec, and moved the conversation forward on making medical cannabis more affordable for Canadians,” Stewart told StratCann Sunday morning. “We supported a policy to abolish the tax on medical cannabis.” 

“While the policy in its current form didn’t make it through, we found lots of support and moved the needle forward. There is a lot of work to be done in battling 100 years of demonization of one the most safe and useful medicinal drugs on earth.”

MP Scott Reid is a Conservative MP representing Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston in Ontario. He was the only Conservative to vote in support of the Liberal’s legalization bill in 2018. He has said he was punished for crossing the party line on the issue, which the Conservatives had otherwise staunchly opposed. 

Trapper Cane, a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and director of the St. Croix New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Association, helped bring the policy to the convention as well. 

Cane, who served as a paratrooper and was seriously injured in a mid-air collision leading to issues with chronic pain and PTSD and co-founded the Canadian Army Veterans (CAV) Motorcycle Unit, told StratCann last week that without cannabis, he would have never been able to take part in such events. 

“It was the medical marijuana that got me out of the dark spots I was in and helped me ignore the pain and to get myself on a motorcycle.”

“Medicine is essential. In my experience as a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, I was both crippled physically, and I suffer from post-traumatic stress injury, so marijuana for me is a lifesaver. This is a medicine, and it’s brutally taxed already, and we need to make that go away.”

The Conservative Party’s convention was in Quebec City from September 7-9.

Applying the same tax system for medical and non-medical cannabis products was a recommendation of the federal government’s expert task force on cannabis legalization and regulations.

Featured image via Tanner Stewart. From left, Scott Reid, Tanner Stewart, and Trapper Cane.