Families affected by overdose crisis call on provincial parties to commit new cannabis tax revenue to substance use treatment and prevention

Victoria, BC, April 24, 2018

A coalition of B.C. families whose loved ones have died from substance use are calling on provincial party leaders to commit to fully investing revenue generated from the taxation and regulation of cannabis into substance use prevention and treatment.

In an open letter delivered to party leaders today, the family groups requested that 100 per cent of tax revenue received by the province from the sale of cannabis and after regulatory expenses are accounted for be directed to address the public health emergency declared last April in response to substance use overdoses and deaths.

“Canada’s plan to tax and regulate the adult use of cannabis will create a new source of revenue that can and must be invested by the province to address substance use,” the letter states.

The federal government recently introduced legislation that would tax and regulate the adult use of cannabis in Canada. The amount of tax revenue that would be generated is unknown, but a report published in the International Journal of Drug Policy in 2012 found that the cannabis market in B.C. alone could be worth $500-million annually.


“The opioid epidemic and the problems of addiction and drug related death in general are a set of incredibly complex problems. There is no one solution. All of the solutions lie in evidence-based research and concrete actions. We have the human resources to do this – what we need is the money. Net tax revenue from cannabis sales is where the new money is. It must be used in solving problems of substance use.”

Leslie McBain - Moms Stop The Harm

Leslie is the mother of Jordan Miller, who died of overdose on February 4, 2014

“Today’s fentanyl crisis is just the tip of an iceberg which has been growing for many years. From Grief to Action was founded as a group of parents and family members of people struggling with addiction to drugs in 1999 when the then-coroner was calling drug deaths a medical emergency. We have been working ever since to increase the amount of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation available in this province. Although some things have improved we still have month-long waiting lists for treatment, a woeful lack of access to psychiatric expertise, a complete lack of services for concurrent disorders, and a health care system where addiction is the bottom of the list for funding.”

Nichola Hall - From Grief to Action

Nichola has two sons who have been on methadone for several years and are still struggling with addiction issues

“It would be grossly irresponsible for the provincial and federal governments to not allocate the taxes received from the sale of legal marijuana to the care and treatment of our substance users. There is no better way to commemorate the lives of the many sons and daughters we have loss due to the opioid crisis than wisely allocating this revenue.”

Jennifer Woodside - Voice of the Family

Jennifer is the mother of Dylan, who died of fentanyl overdose on April 4, 201

“The fentanyl crisis has affected my family dearly. I lost my 20-year-old son in March 2016 and we lost my youngest son's girlfriend exactly five months later in August 2016 to a fentanyl overdose. Immediate funding is urgently required in order to provide treatment options for those who are addicted. We do not have the luxury of time to wait because the fentanyl addiction will kill those people waiting to get treatment and help.

Michelle Jansen - The Brandon Jansen Foundation

Michelle is the mother of Brandon, who died of overdose while in rehab