World news

In Quebec, cannabis producers are struggling

“We are in the storm, even the big players in the industry are having a hard time. » The producer Philippe Laperrièrre, who cultivates fine products, such as “Tropiccana Cookies” (cannabis with aromas of lemon and burnt orange), does not hide his concern. Four years after the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, companies in the sector are struggling to get by in Quebec.

A slew of taxes

For example, Hexo, one of the main suppliers of government retail stores in the province, recorded a loss of more than 110 million dollars last year. Aurora Cannabis, another major player, more than 600 million… On the stock market, the big names in cannabis have also plummeted. According to a recent survey of some forty SMEs in the sector, more than twenty estimate that they will have gone out of business in less than a year.

For the Cannabis Council of Canada (the national association of producers and processors), the products would be overtaxed by the government. Maxime Guérin, lawyer for the SGF group, which helps producers get approved by Health Canada, assures him: “The excise and sales taxes are way too high. » According to Statistics Canada figures, for every dollar generated, more than half evaporates in these various and varied taxes. However, underlines the lawyer, “banks lend little in this sector, which does not benefit from public aid”. And to be indignant: “Our opportunities for advertising are almost non-existent. » Producer Philippe Laperrière points to another factor: the excessive number of licenses granted. Canada has over 600 growers.

Satisfaction in Ottawa

For its part, Ottawa is pleased with the tax revenues generated by the cannabis industry since its legalization: more than 15 billion dollars, according to a report by the Ontario Cannabis Society. And the sector’s growth prospects for the next three years are promising, with a rate exceeding 10%, according to Deloitte. At the end of 2020, almost 6.2 million people aged 15 and over (or 20% of Canadians in this age group) reported having used cannabis in the previous three months.

Canadian researcher Guillaume Hébert, from the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (Iris), estimates that“After the gold rush at the start, we are now witnessing a form of rebalancing”. Ottawa has recently begun a review of the law on the legalization of cannabis in Canada, which will take months, with the key – hope the producers – a possible reduction in taxes.

In the meantime, Philippe Laperrière hopes that the number of stores selling cannabis will increase in Quebec, like neighboring Ontario, and especially in Toronto, where cannabis smokers are on every street corner. “At least, the young person who wants to consume will not want to buy poor quality products from the dealer, with synthetic drugs. »

Source : BBN NEWS

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