by Jenny Yuen, (Source:Northumberland Today)
27 Dec 2010
WARKWORTH -The taxman wants to make sure he scores off Adrienne Baker-Hicks's pot purchases.
The Warkworth woman didn't expect to get hit for nearly $100 of HST monthly when buying her usual $750 shipments of medical marijuana.
But the taxman has been digging into her pocket ever since the HST came into effect in July.
"It's ridiculous," said Baker-Hicks, 52, who became licensed to purchase marijuana last year.
"I am charged $97.50 per shipment. The pills I have to take from my doctors, I don't have to pay HST on them," she added. "Here, the doctor signs it. That's how they fill out the cards -- they have to put how many grams you get for the month. It's the same thing as a prescription."
In the case of prescription drugs, a patient pays only a dispensing fee.
"I'm able to afford ( the HST ), but there are some people who can't," she said.
Her allotment of 150 grams of pot each month helps Baker-Hicks deal with the 27 chronic diseases.
It helps with the pain of her degenerated bone spurs that damage her spinal cord, a blood condition and a disorder which causes seizures.
"It helps you deal with your day," she said.
The former biomedical researcher has been on long-term disability for 10 years and stays mainly at home with her husband in their home.
"Health Canada charges me and I've spoken to them and I'm still waiting for callbacks from them from March," she said.
According to Health Canada, which regulates medicinal marijuana, pot is subject to HST in applicable jurisdictions -- including Ontario.
"Dried marijuana is not an approved therapeutic drug ( i. e. prescription drug under the Food and Drug Act," said Health Canada spokesman Stephane Shank.
The Canadian Revenue Agency could not provide a comment on why HST was being charged on the plant.
"Individuals who obtain a Health Canada supply of marijuana for medical purposes may claim the costs of their marijuana as a medical expense for tax purposes, provided that they have kept their Government of Canada receipts," Shank added.
It's little comfort for Baker- Hicks, who accused the government of weeding out those who smoke pot to help cope with their illnesses.
"With each shipment I get the paperwork from Ottawa telling me the government doesn't recommend the use of medical marijuana and that it's addictive," she said "That tells you what the government thinks about us using marijuana."