British Columbia

B.C. tax revenue from legal cannabis lower than expected

B.C.'s first round of tax revenue from legal cannabis is lower than the estimates written into last year's budget.

Carole James says municipal elections, delayed legalisation explain the discrepancy

B.C.'s finance minister said the discrepancy was due to delays in legalisation from the federal government, and municipal elections across B.C. (Richard Vogel/The Associated Press)

B.C.'s first round of tax revenue from legal cannabis is lower than the estimates written into the 2018/2019 budget.

The province had estimated it would receive $200 million over three years. But provincial Finance Minister Carole James told reporters Wednesday the province has now built in $68 million over three years.

"We can make adjustments to that each year as we see the progress of the stores opening," she said.

James said the discrepancy was due to delays in legalization from the federal government and municipal elections across B.C. which put new permits for pot shops on hold.

"We've seen a delay in opening of stores and that obviously impacts the revenue," she said.

"Really it's just a matter of the timing and when things will occur. We certainly hope the revenues will pick up, but to be cautious and prudent in our budget we've reduced our revenue expectations."

Click here for more about the rules surrounding legal cannabis in B.C.

When pot was legalized in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018, there was just one B.C. Cannabis Store in the entire province, located in Kamloops at the Columbia Place Shopping Centre.

Legal cannabis and cannabis products can also been purchased online.

In January, the City of Vancouver issued business licenses to three different outlets.