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20% sales tax will make vaping more expensive in BC

November 19, 2019

The Government of British Columbia has announced that it will increase taxes on vaping-related products from 7% to 20%. The increase will cover cannabis vaporizers, as well as certain cannabis-containing concentrates.

In a “Notice to Sellers of Vapour Products,” the government indicated that the tax increase would go into effect January 1, 2020, assuming the legislation passes and receives royal assent by then.

The notice targets vapour products, including vaping devices, cartridges, parts, device accessories, and vaping substances.

The release defines vaping devices broadly, listing “dry herb vaporizers” and “vape pens” among its examples.

The release also says that “cannabis e-juice” would be taxed at the higher rate. The province defines that as “cannabis in a liquid form designed for a vaping device,” meaning dried cannabis (aka flower or bud), as well as extracts not meant for inhalation (such as ingestible oils), would not face the increased tax.

But the release is silent as to solid forms of cannabis that can either be vaped by a vaping device or smoked via a “dab rig.” These product types include shatter, dabs, and other inhalable extracts.

Ambiguity in the new rules is already apparent: The federal Cannabis Act treats liquid and solid concentrates the same, and it is possible that we’ll see products come to market that straddle the line between them. This is one area where the province may have to rethink their definitions.

The increase also applies to “pod systems” such as the Pax Era, and to several tobacco products and devices.

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Harrison Jordan

Harrison Jordan is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and enjoys reading and writing about the regulatory affairs of cannabis in Canada and around the world.

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