Supply management

October 22, 2021

Uruguay plans to sell weed for $1 per gram to combat drug trafficking

Uruguay hopes selling legal marijuana at $1 per gram will put a stop to the illegal market, according to a local newspaper.

The government is attempting to create a legal marijuana industry that could start as early as the summer of 2014, the country's drug chief Julio Calzada told newspaper El Pais.

These plans passed in the lower house of Congress and President Jose Mujica expects that it will be swiftly approved in Senate. If that's the case, Uruguay will become the first country to attempt licensing and enforcing weed production, distribution and sales.

"The illegal market is very risky and of poor quality," Calzada told the Associated Press. The State "is going to offer a safe place to buy a quality product and on top of that, it's going to sell it at the same price."

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July 03, 2021

Buying wine out of province still a tough task

Despite a bill ending a prohibition-era federal ban on individual purchases of wine across provincial borders, most Canadians still can’t buy wine directly from an out-of-province winery, unless they haul it back themselves.

So far, just two provinces – British Columbia and Manitoba – allow consumers to buy out-of-province wince over the Internet or by phone. Ontario does allows its residents to buy directly from Ontario wineries, but still frowns at interprovincial sales.

"It just seems so ludicrous to me that we make a homegrown product. It’s local. It’s Canadian. It supports farming. It’s small business," one B.C wine maker told the Globe and Mail. "These are the kinds of things we should be supporting in Canada."

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May 31, 2021

Duty-free limits on cross border shopping jump this weekend

And you thought the line-ups to get into the United States were too long the last time you went.

Despite the fact that prices are roughly 14% cheaper across the border, online shopping, lack of passports, border delays and the price of gas have kept many shoppers close to home.

But with the duty-free limits increasing this weekend, consumers will once again start looking south, predicts BMO Capital Markets.

Thanks largely to a weaker dollar, the price gap has dropped from the 20% price differential that BMO found last year, but higher duty-free thresholds could make up the difference.

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May 08, 2021

Is it time for governments to tax marijuana?

Mayors from eight B.C. communities have joined together to lobby the provincial government to regulate and tax marijuana as part of a strategy to make communities safer, boosting revenues at the same time.

In their letter, the mayors argue prohibition has led to large-scale grow-ops, increased organized crime, ongoing gang violence, and larger police budgets. And they're not alone.

Across the border, Massachusetts legislators are debating a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax the commercial production of marijuana. Colorado and Washington will vote on marijuana legalization initiatives later this year.

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April 05, 2021

Is it time to clamp down on cheap off-reserve smokes?

A native-run discount smoke shop in western Manitoba has reignited the debate over tax-free smokes.

Last month, officials seized $10,000 worth of contraband cigarettes, which were not authorized for sale in the province. The next day, Dakota Chundee, which doesn’t sit on reserve land, was open again, crowded with non-Aboriginal buyers.

The smoke shop has been selling untaxed cigarettes, which come from Mohawk distributors from Quebec, for $40 a carton or $5 a pack, less than half the regular price in Manitoba.

The raid, and subsequent reopening of the smoke shack, is the latest in a growing frontier war between First Nations and western provincial governments. There's nothing illegal about natives selling tax-free cigarettes to other natives on the reserve. It's when they end up off-reserve that's causing the problem.

This is old news in Ontario and Quebec, where the booming Indian tobacco business has already meant billions in lost taxes, but Indian cigarette sales haven’t really been an issue in the West.

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January 18, 2022

Are Canadian dairy quotas fair to consumers?

Thanks to a decades-old combination of tariffs, quotas and simply price fixing, Canadians pay higher prices for eggs, dairy, and poultry than most other countries.

And according to the OECD - the organization representing the world's developed economies - we pay nearly double the world price for milk, cream and butter, for instance, and two-thirds more than the American price.

The culprit is the quota system, which limits what leaves farms’ gates, thus stifling  -- along with large tariffs that block the entry into the country of similar goods -- the natural selection process that governs most businesses.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...