Medical marijuana patients in Canada have a reason to celebrate beyond safe access to their medicine, as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently clarified that medical marijuana is indeed tax deductible. While the CRA has yet to make formal amendments to the country’s income tax laws, they’ve confirmed the news via a letter to the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA), stating that participants in the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) “may claim the cost of their cannabis as an allowable medical expense on their income tax.”
Canadians legalized medical marijuana in 2000 via the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP), with an overhaul taking effect in 2014 which enacted the MMPR. In order to legally deduct medical marijuana as an expense on their taxes, Canadian residents must do two things: have a physician’s authorization and have purchased their medicine from a licensed producer.
This is an important step in acknowledging the legitimacy of the way patients use medical cannabis, to help manage the symptoms of a range of health conditions. We have been working with the CRA and the Department of Finance for several months to clarify this issue, and we’re extremely pleased that cannabis regulated by Health Canada has been recognized as an allowable tax expense. It’s very good news, and will help make the use of cannabis as medicine more accessible and affordable for patients. – Neil Belot, Executive Director of the CMCIA
The CRA has further elaborated on the issue, stating, “…The Canada Revenue Agency will not disallow eligible medical expenses claimed for the purchase of medical marihuana allowable under these new regulations.”
It is estimated that roughly 40,000 Canadians are authorized to use medical marijuana, with many more likely to obtain authorization from their physician as the conversation continues to evolve. The MMPR allows for medical marijuana to be prescribed by a doctor for any condition, rather than the specific and often limited list of qualifying conditions found in the United States.