A new study suggests Vancouver pot smokers could generate up to $29 million annually for the province in additional tax revenue if marijuana was taxed at the same rate as cigarettes.
The 2018 Cannabis Price Index, compiled by pot-tech startup Seedo, looked at the cost of cannabis around the world. The study then calculated how much additional tax revenue each city’s population of pot smokers might generate based on each city’s consumption and average marijuana and cigarette tax rates in the U.S.
On the 120-city ranking, Vancouver was found to have the 96th most-expensive weed, at a cost of about US$6.40 per gram. With an annual consumption of about 5.25 metric tons, Vancouver marijuana enthusiasts could generate about US$23.4 million (about $29 million Cdn) if weed were taxed at the same rate as cigarettes or US$6.3 million if taxed at the same rate as pot in places where it’s legal.
The Canadian government has said that each provincial authority will be responsible for the regulation and distribution of cannabis — including taxing products — once legislation is introduced later this year.
The city with the most-expensive weed? Tokyo. Marijuana is illegal in Japan, which might explain its average price of US$32.66 per gram. That said, the city still consumes about 1.53 metric tons of weed per year.
The study found that the least-expensive weed was sold in Quito, Ecuador, where marijuana is partly legal and costs about US$1.34 per gram. But even with an annual consumption of about 63.2 metric tons, the South American city would only generate about a half-million American dollars per year.
The report was compiled by first selecting 120 cities around the world, in a variety of places where marijuana is legal, illegal and partly legal and where pot-use data is available.
“That illegal cannabis use is so high in countries that still carry the death penalty, such as Pakistan and Egypt, those in power ought to see how desperately new legislation is needed,” said Uri Zeevi, Seedo’s chief marketing officer. “By removing the criminal element from marijuana, governments will then be able to more safely regulate production, take away power from underground gangs and, as we’ve shown in this study, generate huge tax revenues.”
Seedo is the tech firm behind what’s being advertised as the world’s first, fully automated hydroponic growing device, allowing individuals to tidily grow their own weed or other plants at home. The machine resembles a mini-fridge and allows for app connectivity, so growers can check on their plants from afar and adjust growth plans as needed.
“We believe that by understanding the cost of weed around the world we can help to educate smokers about the potential financial benefits of hydroponic growing technology,” said Zeevi.