State Tax on Illegal Drugs Sought

State Tax on Illegal Drugs Sought
Posted by CN Staff on January 20, 2006 at 08:25:30 PT
News Story
Source: TMCNet
Olympia, WA -- Crime doesn't pay? Well, Tom Campbell thinks it ought to.The Republican state lawmaker wants to start taxing drug dealers. Legislation he introduced this week would require dealers and users to pay taxes on their illicit inventories by purchasing state tax stamps for all cocaine, heroin, pills, other drugs and bootleg liquor intended for sale in Washington.
"Upon payment of the tax, the dealer shall permanently affix the appropriate stamps to the unauthorized substance," legislative researchers said in an analysis of Campbell's proposal. In fact, the money would go into a special new "Unauthorized Substances Tax Account" in the state treasury.Under the measure, the use, sale and possession of illicit drugs would remain against the law. But any dealer, mule or user caught with untaxed drug stashes would face even greater penalties and would be obligated to pay the tax.Although it might sound silly, other states are using a similar approach with mixed results.And while no one believes drug dealers will begin lining up to buy tax stamps if the measure is approved, it would give the state greater leverage in quickly laying claim to any cash that dealers have in their possession when taken into police custody. Most of the tax revenue would be given to the state and local law enforcement agencies that made the arrests.The state's defense lawyers association says the bill is probably unconstitutional, wouldn't deter drug use, and wouldn't raise much money.As things stand now, Campbell told a House committee this week, hardworking taxpayers pick up the tab for drug crimes, courts, prosecution and property damage."This bill is quite simple: The perpetrator pays," he said. "It's a very simple concept; it's not complicated. If you appreciate the concept that they do cost us a lot of money, I think this is one way to kind of level the playing field a little bit."Campbell said the idea came from North Carolina, which passed a similar law in 1989 and gets about $6 million a year in taxes on contraband. Tennessee has done the same thing, he said, netting about $2 million a year."It's been somewhat of a success," said Campbell, R-Roy.The bill even includes specific tax rates, ranging from 40 cents per gram for marijuana stems and stalks to $50 per gram for cocaine.The tax is payable within 48 hours of a person getting the drug, with exceptions for Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. If illegal drugs are found without the tax stamps, the owner would be assessed the taxes, fines and penalties, in addition to whatever drug charges they'd face.Three-quarters of the money would go to state and local law enforcement. The rest would go into the state's general fund and could be used for anything.Among those unhappy with the bill: the American Civil Liberties Union and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.The tax won't raise much money, will keep violators in expensive prison cells even longer, and does nothing for drug treatment, defense attorney Kim Gordon told lawmakers.Already, she said, drug defendants are assessed jail costs, court costs, lab fees, restitution and defense costs."They are assessed and assessed and assessed, and many of these costs are never paid," she said. "They have nothing left to give."Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, nonetheless likes the bill."In some countries, such as Thailand, just the mere possession of drugs could get you executed, if not life imprisonment," he told Gordon. "Wouldn't you say, under those circumstances, that this is really a pretty lenient bill?""I wouldn't defend Thailand's approach to drug crime," she said, repeating her call for treatment."There are ways of dealing with the drug problem," she said, "and this isn't the responsible way to do it."At a glance:Proposed drug taxes* 40 cents a gram for pot stems and stalks.* $3.50 a gram for pot leaves.* $50 for each gram of cocaine.* $5 a dose for hallucinogens, stimulants, depressants and other drugs sold by weight, such as methamphetamine.* $20 a dose for those not sold by weight.* $31.70 per gallon of moonshine sold by the drink.* $12.80 a gallon if the bootleg booze is sold in bulk. Complete Title: State Tax on Illegal Drugs Sought: Sponsor Says Idea Came from 1989 North Carolina LawSource: TMCNet (U.S. Web)Published: January 20, 2006Copyright: 2006 Technology Marketing Corp. Contact:  tmc tmcnet.comWebsite: Article: Taxes on Drug Dealers? Lawmaker Wants Money Justice Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #15 posted by FoM on January 23, 2006 at 14:38:55 PT
Related Article from WBIR-TV Knoxville
Illegal Drug Tax Creates Big Windfall for TN Tax AssessorsTennessee's tax on unauthorized substances has brought in more than $1.7 million in its first year. ***Katie Allison Granju , Producer  January 23, 2006The tax is aimed at fighting illegal drugs and 
is modeled after a 13-year-old North Carolina tax. The Tennessee Department of Revenue is authorized to assess a tax on illegal drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, when they are found by authorities. The alleged drug possessor then has an opportunity to pay the tax. If it is not paid, agents may seize and auction anything of value that person owns. Copyright: 2006 WBIR-TV Knoxville
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by schmeff on January 23, 2006 at 11:00:30 PT
This scheme is simply a political-shyster method by which to punish someone twice for the same offense. Using similar "logic", one should be able to pay the tax, then deduct it from their federal income tax as a business expense. If the feds chose to dispute the deduction, the gummint would have to prove that the defendent was NOT a dealer!Wouldn't it be nice to see the shoe on the other foot?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 20, 2006 at 21:09:28 PT
I never heard that before but it sure makes sense.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by JustGetnBy on January 20, 2006 at 20:53:50 PT
Redneck wisdom
  Out where I live, a few mile from the blacktop, we have a saying that applies pretty well to what's going on in this country regarding the Cannabis issue.  " There ain't much cure for stupid, but stupid can usually be ignored, because there's no ill will in stupid, but, you mix stupid with power (Hot Damnn ) you got somedody that you need to deal with.) Is anybody else thinking Republican, GWB, cause I sure got some alarms going off.            Peace  
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by mayan on January 20, 2006 at 17:05:23 PT
These drug warriors know the jig is up. Can't you just sense the desperation in their tactics as of late? We have already decisively won the battle of public opinion and any draconian measures these thugs can dream up will only shift that public opinion further in our favor!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by jose melendez on January 20, 2006 at 14:37:13 PT
hi all
Thanks Toker00 and Runruff,Runruff, I think it's so sad that your lawyer would not fight back, is there nothing that can be done to change that?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by runruff on January 20, 2006 at 14:25:48 PT:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Toker00 on January 20, 2006 at 14:25:41 PT
Lost C-newser finds way back with FoM's help.
Hey, Jose. I wondered what happened to ya.Wage peace on war. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 20, 2006 at 11:09:06 PT
You're welcome. I am glad I was able to figure it out.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by jose melendez on January 20, 2006 at 10:54:11 PT
it's OK
I cannot thank you enough, FoM. It feels good to be back.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by potpal on January 20, 2006 at 10:43:09 PT
Another idea!
Let's ask bank robbers and embezzlers to pay income tax. Think of the potential.What an idiot this guy Campbell must be. Has he even researched the subject to find what a failure such a policy has been in the past? I doubt anyone ever pays these taxes upfront. Its when they get busted that the vultures all jump in to get there cut of the (pot) pie...the tax is a handy way to earmark a cut for the state and local leo cuffers.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 20, 2006 at 10:29:07 PT
I'm glad I was able to get it fixed. Sorry for the problem.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by jose melendez on January 20, 2006 at 10:04:03 PT
now I can post!
testing . . .it works!Several computer glitches and much time to think passed. I hope everyone is OK, thank you all and congrats to herbdoc, Emery and the Kubbys for helping break the media blockade from the front lines of this unlawful war on us all.With regard to the article above, in my opinion, we can all thank the Justice Department for successfully arguing that Cannabis is an item in commerce for legitimizing the black market drug trade.Certainly, they've taxed us enough. For the better part of a century with threats of jail, asset forfeiture and actual torture they have taxed us to death, over lies that even the government lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court in Raich hints he knows to be false claims:from: STEVENS: Do you think there could be any state of facts on which a judicial tribunal could disagree with the finding of Congress that there's no acceptable medical use? Say they had a -- say there was a judicial hearing on which they made a contrary finding.Would we have to ignore that? Would we have to follow the
congressional finding or the judicial finding if that happened? MR. CLEMENT: Well, it depends on the exact hypothetical you have in mind. I think the -- the judicial finding that I think would be appropriate, and this Court would not have to ignore in any way, is a finding by the D.C. Circuit that, in a particular case 
where there's a rescheduling effort before the FDA, that 
the underlying judgement of the FDA refusing to reschedule 
is invalid, arbitrary, capricious. That's the way to go after the finding that marijuana is a Schedule I substance without a valid medical use in treatment. - - -More lawsuits, more amicus briefs and more lies exposed are in order.-jm
download pdf 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by dongenero on January 20, 2006 at 09:08:25 PT
tax huh?
This basically legitimizes the black market drug trade and will give the Washington state government a financial incentive for perpetuating that market.Strange. Again, follow the money. It's the root of.....well, all.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by The GCW on January 20, 2006 at 09:02:08 PT
Heel not heil. 
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment