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Pot taxes will stay low in order to push out pushers, Morneau suggests

A man lights a marijuana joint as he participates in the 4/20 protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, April 20, 2015. Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the Liberal government has not decided how to tax marijuana, but is instead focused on making sure it stays out of the hands of children and criminals.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Here’s some good news for Canadian pot smokers: high taxes will not join the munchies, the pasties and short-term memory loss as unwelcome side effects of smoking up.

The Canadian government is hinting it wants to keep pot taxes low.

As the feds design tax policy for soon-to-be-legalized marijuana, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he has one main goal: squeezing out the black market.

He is adamant that maximizing federal revenues is not, and will not be, the priority on pot.

Those comments are a strong hint that Ottawa favours lower taxes on marijuana, to keep the price competitive against the street value and push the local pusher out of business.

A C.D. Howe report this month found 90 per cent of the illegal market would disappear if pot cost $9 per gram, and governments applied only existing sales taxes, producing $675 million a year in federal and provincial revenues.

But the report concluded illegal sales would retain half the market if governments tried squeezing $1 billion in revenue from the sale of marijuana.