Saskatchewan budget 2018: Pot profits left out of Sask. budget because revenue 'difficult to predict'

The Saskatchewan government says Tuesday’s budget does not include any projections for marijuana sales revenue because there is not enough certainty about legalization and the retail market.

2018-19 budget does not include projections for marijuana sales revenue

Saskatchewan's budget 2018-19, released on April 10, does not consider potential revenue from marijuana sales after legalization. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

The Saskatchewan government says Tuesday's budget does not include any projections for marijuana sales revenue because there is not enough certainty about the date of legalization and the retail market.

The province has signed onto a two-year agreement with the federal government to receive 75 per cent of the federal cannabis excise duty revenue generated in Saskatchewan.

It will also receive a share of any funds that exceed the federal government's $100 million cap on excise duty revenue on marijuana. 

The PST will also apply to all retail sales of cannabis products in Saskatchewan.

But Tuesday's budget confirms what Premier Scott Moe said in February — that the government will not be making any projections on cannabis sales revenue this financial year.

"In part because it remains unclear exactly when legalization will occur, and because the size of the cannabis market and the anticipated retail price are difficult to predict, making it challenging to accurately forecast potential revenue," reads a statement in the budget documents.

Todd MacKay, the Prairie director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, believes it was the right decision. 

"That's the prudent choice here," he said at the legislature on Tuesday.

"Nobody knows what's going to happen with weed revenues or costs, so the government has to take a prudent approach on that. They shouldn't be betting on revenue that they can't project." 

Some provinces project profits, others losses

Saskatchewan is not the first of the provinces and territories to decide against including potential pot sales revenues in their budgets.

Both the Northwest Territories and Ontario left projections for pot profits out of their overall financial plans for the year.

MLAs in the N.W.T. raised concerns about how its leadership would pay for public education and training without those projects.

Other regions have taken a shot at predicting how much revenue they will receive after legalization.

Nova Scotia has said it expects to bring in $19.4 million in pot tax revenue, which it will use to pay for expenses like training police to do roadside drug testing.

Leaders in Alberta are not expecting legalization to generate any revenue for the first two years, during which it expects it will suffer a net loss of $90 million due to set-up and acquisition costs.

Money from marijuana legalization — provinces weigh costs and benefits

5 years ago
Duration 2:45
Money from marijuana legalization is something many provinces haven't had to budget for before, but with the extra cash from cannabis also comes some extra costs. CBC News takes a look at how different provinces are rolling out their fiscal plans, and their expectations of pot revenue and how they plan to spend it.

By 2020-21, that province is forecasting it will make $37 million.

Yukon will spend about $2.7 million this year to build an inventory of marijuana, according to the minister overseeing the territory's plan for legal pot sales.

Minister John Streicker told the legislative assembly in March he was anticipating a possible shortage once marijuana becomes legal later this year.

The Yukon budget also allocated $3 million to the Yukon Liquor Corporation for a "Cannabis Distributor Corporation Fund." 

In B.C., the province expects to receive a $50-million share of federal duty on marijuana in 2018-19 and an additional $75 million per year in 2019-20 and 2020-21.


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