Prices, taxes, and insurance coverage for medical cannabis

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Patients are spending between $50 and $200 per month on their cannabis products. Dried flower is the cheapest product, but most patients are using more expensive oils and gel capsules. There are taxes levied on medical cannabis. Cannabis producers must pay an excise duty to the Government of Canada. Patients are charged GST/PST/HST on their purchases (rates vary by province). While medical cannabis is treated as a medical expense at tax time, it is currently being taxed the same as recreational cannabis sold at retail outlets. Many organizations are lobbying to change this.

Some patients are fortunate to have insurance coverage through their employer’s primary insurance provider, while others have coverage through extended benefit plans (e.g. health spending accounts). Here is some information on insurance coverage. It is always best to check with your insurance company to be sure.

Veterans have coverage for medical cannabis from Veterans Affairs Canada. The Department of Veterans Affairs has established a reimbursement rate of $8.50 per gram. Many producers will cover any difference, and some are able to direct bill VAC.

Most producers also offer discounted pricing for individuals meeting certain conditions, e.g. low income, seniors, etc.. For example, one licensed producer offers a 25% discount for anyone with an income below $32,500 per year. Many producers offer one-time discounts to new registrants.

Shipping is often free if your order total is over a certain dollar amount, e.g. $100.

Medical cannabis can be claimed as a medical expense at tax time, however note that purchases from retail outlets do not qualify.

If you are comparing oils or gel capsules, you will want to make sure you take into account the size of the bottle or number of capsules, as well as the "strength" of the oil. For example, some oils have more CBD per mL than others.