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More Illegal Drug Tax Stuff

Ben Livingston was tracking his efforts to purchase tax stamps on illegal drugs as required by Tennessee law. It starts out with this opening email:

I am interested in purchasing the new illegal drug stamps that Tennessee now offers. I called this morning to purchase some of these, but I was told I could not buy them without travelling 2500 miles to Nashville.

You would generate more revenue if you sold these stamps without requiring purchasers to travel to Nashville. It is likely that this tax is not legal and is instead double jeopardy punishment, especially given that the State of Tennessee will not sell these stamps unless a purchaser physically stands before the Department of Revenue, incriminating themselves in the process. Supposedly the DOR keeps no identifying information on the purchaser, but this additional burden is proof that these stamps are not easily acquired and thus isn’t really a tax but a penalty, which is disallowed by the Supreme Court decision Montana Department of Revenue v. Kurth Ranch, et al.

I am also inquiring on behalf of a disabled friend who would like to buy these stamps. It is possible that your refusal to sell stamps to this person without their physical presence is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It seem unreasonable to require a wheelchair-bound patient to travel to your office in order to pay their taxes. I am cc’ing W. Alan Beckelheimer of the Crossville Chronicle, where I read about these tax stamps. I am also cc’ing NORML, a marijuana legalization group that was mentioned in some articles I read about the drug tax; I believe your refusal to sell me stamps may help them get this new law ruled unconstitutional.

He’s received responses that are interesting. Worth reading. The correspondence does confirm, as stated here before, that to buy the stamps a person must appear in person at the Department of Revenue Office in Nashville. It’s not a tax or a penalty, it’s a scam.

2 Responses to “More Illegal Drug Tax Stuff”

  1. Xrlq Says:

    Livingston would do well to actually read Montana Department of Revenue v. Kurth Ranch, et al. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

  2. SayUncle » Drug tax overturned Says:

    […] That’s a lot of money. And people didn’t buy the stamps because 1) it’s fucking stupid and 2) the state made it unnecessarily difficult to do. […]