Lonely Man of Cake

January 17, 2007

No Taxation Without Inhalation?

Filed under: General — lonelymanofcake @ 1:21 pm

The state of Tennessee has pulled off the unthinkable. While it is illegal in Tennessee to buy, sell, or possess drugs, the state has levied a tax on these substances, much like there are taxes on alcohol and tobacco. The article in Time explains the way in which tax stamps are purchased anonymously and affixed on packages of contraband when they are sold. Failure to comply means that a big drug bust will land you in jail both on drug charges and charges of tax evasion, which “can exceed 10 times the original cost.”
This statute obviously raises important constitutional, not to mention moral, issues. Should illegal gambling parlors also have to anonymously purchase tax stamps from the government? What about unlicensed businesses, or doctors who work without the right permits? While Tennessee has made it clear that purchasing the stamps does not grant any sort of legal immunity from drug charges, there is an implicit sanctioning (more on this word in a separate post) of drug commerce inherent in the state’s collection method, which facilitates the anonymous purchase of the stamps. If the state didn’t want to send such mixed messages, they should either repeal the tax, or arrest everyone who comes to buy the stamps.

For your amusement, here are some other strange (and unfair) taxes currently levied on American citizens in 23 different states.



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