Operating a cannabis business? Get to know the excise duty
Under the excise duty framework, if you (or your organization/business) want to cultivate, produce or package cannabis products, you must obtain a cannabis licence from the CRA prior to beginning these activities. To qualify for a CRA cannabis licence, you are also required to obtain a licence from Health Canada.
How to get your CRA cannabis licence
Only a CRA cannabis licensee may possess unpackaged, unstamped cannabis products. You are not eligible for a CRA licence if your business involves only storing unpackaged cannabis products.
Activities that do not require a licence:
- cannabis products that are produced in Canada by an individual for their personal use and in accordance with the Cannabis Act
- cannabis products that are produced in Canada by an individual, under the Cannabis Act, for the medical purposes of the individual
- cannabis products that are produced in Canada by an individual who, under the Cannabis Act, is a designated person who is authorized to produce cannabis products in Canada for the medical purposes of another individual
- cannabis products that are in the possession of a holder of a Health Canada research or cannabis drug licence and are being used for research purposes
What to do after you receive your CRA cannabis licence
When you become a licensed cannabis producer, you must pay a federal excise duty when the cannabis products you package are delivered to a purchaser (for example, a provincially-authorized distributor/retailer or final consumer).
With a few exceptions, a cannabis excise stamp must be present on all of your cannabis products that are available for purchase.
Once licensed, you are required to:
Keep your business compliant
The CRA wants your cannabis business to start off on the right foot and remain compliant.
Avoid potential penalties by familiarizing yourself with the following important information:
- You may only start production activities or take possession of unstamped, non-duty paid cannabis once you have received your CRA licence. Even if you have received your Health Canada licence, penalties can apply if you do these things prior to receiving the CRA licence.
- You must not sell cannabis that is unpackaged, unstamped, and non-duty paid to a person who does not hold a CRA licence. As a seller, it is your responsibility to make sure your purchaser holds a CRA licence before delivering unpackaged cannabis product.
- Generally, only you are allowed to possess the cannabis excise stamps issued to you. You cannot provide your stamps to another cannabis licensee unless there is an authorized service agreement between you and the other licensee.
- You may only transfer packaged, non-duty paid cannabis product to another cannabis licensee under an authorized service agreement, unless the cannabis product is being sold to the second cannabis licensee. For more information on who can qualify for quarterly reporting and remitting see EDN84 Service Agreements in Respect of Cannabis Products and Intra-Industry Sale of Cannabis Products.
- You must remain current with your return filing obligations and remittances to maintain your CRA licence and continue placing orders for cannabis excise stamps.
Questions about cannabis
You can contact the CRA with your cannabis questions.
For more information on obtaining your CRA cannabis licence, contact your regional excise office.
- Excise Duty Notice EDN52, Obtaining and Renewing a Cannabis Licence.
- Excise Duty Notice EDN53, General Information for Cultivators, Producers and Packagers of Cannabis Products.
- Excise Duty Notice EDN54, General Overview of the Cannabis Excise Stamps.
- Excise Duty Notice EDN55, Calculation of Cannabis Duty and Additional Cannabis Duty on Cannabis Products.
- Excise Duty Notice EDN60, Calculation of Cannabis Duty and Additional Cannabis Duty on Cannabis Oil, Edible Cannabis, Cannabis Extracts and Cannabis Topicals
- Excise Duty Notice EDN76, Budget 2022 – Quarterly Filing and Remitting for Cannabis Licensees
- Excise Duty Notice EDN84, Service Agreements in Respect of Cannabis Products and Intra-Industry Sale of Cannabis Products
- Excise Duty Notice EDN88, Budget 2023 – Quarterly Filing and Remitting for All Cannabis Licensees
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