If you're coming to TN this weekend, make sure you pay the drug tax.

If you're coming to TN this weekend, make sure you pay the drug tax.

This is a discussion on If you're coming to TN this weekend, make sure you pay the drug tax. within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Among the hippies, rockers, free spirits and other Bonnaroo revelers partying in Manchester today will be a less likely festival figure: the taxman. In an ...

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  1. #1
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    If you're coming to TN this weekend, make sure you pay the drug tax.

    Among the hippies, rockers, free spirits and other Bonnaroo revelers partying in Manchester today will be a less likely festival figure: the taxman.

    In an example of Tennessee's controversial drug tax in action, state revenue agents plan to collect fees on the illegal substances that some concertgoers bring for personal use and sale.
    It's not an effort to curb drug use — for some, a Bonnaroo tradition that has sent tens to the hospital and a few to the morgue — but to make sure state and local authorities recoup drug enforcement costs.
    For an ounce and a half of marijuana, just above the limit for a misdemeanor drug charge, the tax amounts to about $165, said Al Laney, director of tax enforcement for the state revenue department.

    "Naturally, these people will be arrested and their assets will be confiscated," Laney said. "We assess a person while they're under arrest and seize any assets that law enforcement may want to turn over to us."

    The state tax on felony amounts of drugs — rates vary by substance — started in January 2005 and has sparked an ongoing legal battle over the fairness and legality of the fee.

    State agents have collected $5.4 million so far, with an untold portion of that coming from their efforts at Bonnaroo, the only event in the state manned by tax agents.

    147 arrested in 2006

    Between 30 and 40 concertgoers in 2005 faced taxes and fines, estimated Laney, who could not provide exact statistics.

    Coffee County sheriff's officers, who help inspect vehicles entering the concert grounds, arrested 147 people in 2006, many on drug charges. More than 200 were cited, Sheriff Stephen Graves said.

    One of those was retired law professor Thomas Schornhorst's 17-year-old grandson from Alabama, who was stopped on the way into the show with a bag of plant material.

    Tax agents took the $200 the youth had on him, told him he owed more than $5,000 and threatened to confiscate the truck he rode in on, his grandfather says.

    Lab tests later showed that the bag contained no illegal substances and the fines were dropped. Still, Schornhorst bristled at what he says is the state's disregard for due process.

    "They're just taking money from people on the spot knowing that these people won't be able to find lawyers to challenge them," Schornhorst said.

    A revenue department spokeswoman confirmed that agents have confiscated vehicles in the past when dealing with large amounts of drugs or people from out of state.
    When not working Bonnaroo, agents team up with law enforcement on drug busts or assess taxes by mail on arrestees regardless of whether they're convicted.

    State officials placed a tax lien on the home of Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley this year after he was arrested on charges of illegally buying thousands of prescription drugs.

    Drug carriers can buy stamps anonymously from the revenue department in Nashville. Tax officials are prohibited by law from disclosing the information to law enforcement authorities.

    The stamps, when affixed to bags of drugs, prove to the state that the possessor has already paid taxes.

    The program hasn't been popular, Laney said.

    So far no drugs confiscated by police have carried the markers, and some speculate that the small number of stamps sold in Tennessee have gone to collectors, he said.

    http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs....0104/706140398


  2. #2
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    "Naturally, these people will be arrested and their assets will be confiscated,"
    Adding insult to injury...what a concept!
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
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  3. #3
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    I'm sure there are Libertarians who think that it's a misuse of government to penalize people who take organic drugs. I'm ambivalent to most (harmless*) drug users but a staunch anti regarding the chemical soups that pass for recreational substances.
    The law is still the law until changed.
    That said I do question the logic of anyone traveling to rural TN to sell/consume illegal drugs... not the smartest of life choices.
    I can only imagine how much it alters the 'buzz' to have your car confiscated because you didn't pay duty on the bag of weed.

    *harmless defined as only wasting your own life and breaking your mother's heart because at age 30 you're still in her basement thinking you're one of The Ramones, as opposed to 'harmful', defined as leaving the basement and interacting with society.

  4. #4
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    typical politicians in actions......

    If it breaths ---tax it!
    If it doesn't breath----tax it!
    If it legal----tax it!
    If it's illegal----tax it!
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0.02 View Post
    *harmless defined as only wasting your own life and breaking your mother's heart because at age 30 you're still in her basement thinking you're one of The Ramones, as opposed to 'harmful', defined as leaving the basement and interacting with society.


    I have some "friends" from high school who in their mid thirties live still with their parents, waiting for their "Band" to take off. When I go home to visit my parents, they always talk about getting a gig on a curise ship, or there last CD got some air time on the local radio station.
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

  6. #6
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Well, it's started...

    Thousands of Bonnaroo concert goers weren't the only ones out on the intestate on Thursday.

    So were the police... In force.

    This backup on I-24 this afternoon was caused by a traffic stop.

    Hamilton County deputies pulled over a car headed for the festival.

    They arrested four people on drug charges and confiscated the vehicle and all of it's contents.
    http://wdef.com/news/drug_busts_slow...nnaroo/06/2007

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Almost every week I learn something else new about the state that we moved to a year and a half ago that makes me even happier to have moved my family here.

    I am 100% anti drug ( in fact I have been told by more than one person that I was the only person that they had ever met that had never tried any type of illegal drug) and this makes tons of sense to me. I hope it does actually cut down on drug use in Tennessee. Seems like it would....or at least be a heck of a monetary deterrent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    Adding insult to injury...what a concept!
    We have the same concept here as well. I think it is just another charge to slap on a druggie in case the others get dropped

  9. #9
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    My wife is involved in state government, she remembers that when this law came in it was widely considered to be a clever move. As things stood the state didn't want to incarcerate more people for misdemeanor drug offenses, but they wanted higher penalties. This 'tax' achieved that and also creates a very healthy revenue for TN.

    So the kids get less incentive to buy weed knowing that it can become a criminal tax evasion charge on top of the standard offense, and those that aren't put off and get caught probably don't re-offend in a hurry.

    There will be some really good Police auctions down in Manchester later in the year...

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Sweet, more control on what people do with their own body. The Nanny state is awesome.

    </sarcasm>
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

  11. #11
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    Sweet, more control on what people do with their own body. The Nanny state is awesome.

    </sarcasm>
    I fully sympathize Sammy, as an ex-Brit I know a lot about nanny state control ran rampant.

    But, it's drugs. While I don't believe the propaganda surrounding the war on drugs I do know that recreational drugs negatively effect lives more than they help.

    I've been to Holland, Morocco, Thailand, India, Cambodia... I've seen the burnouts living just for drugs. I lived in West London and saw rich and poor hustling away their dignity for little bags of crap.

    We're better than this, mankind doesn't have to be stoned to operate. It's an option, it's an easy way out of whatever you are facing, it's weak. And it does effect others.

    I would vote against incarceration for possession, but for prohibitive fines.

    And with respect I realize that YMMV.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    No doubt about it that people who use drugs do bad things. I don't use them or drink either. The question though; do you support individual liberty?

    I don't want people telling me what to do or how to live my life. I don't want antis telling me I can carry a gun or not because they have some kind of moral issue with it.

    So, to be fair, I don't think I should be able to tell another individual what he should do with his own body. If he kills someone driving a car while stoned or something, then charge him with murder and put him in jail or take him out back and shoot him in the head. If he steals to get drugs, then send him to jail for stealing. Maybe we could concentrate on getting our solved murder cases rate over 65&#37; as a nation instead of putting tons of people in prison for harming theirselves.

    This is of course aside from the fact that the War on Drugs is an absolute failure and waste of tons of money every year.

    Or really it could be summed up by this quote:
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
    Thomas Jefferson
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0.02 View Post
    I fully sympathize Sammy, as an ex-Brit I know a lot about nanny state control ran rampant.

    But, it's drugs. While I don't believe the propaganda surrounding the war on drugs I do know that recreational drugs negatively effect lives more than they help.

    I've been to Holland, Morocco, Thailand, India, Cambodia... I've seen the burnouts living just for drugs. I lived in West London and saw rich and poor hustling away their dignity for little bags of crap.

    We're better than this, mankind doesn't have to be stoned to operate. It's an option, it's an easy way out of whatever you are facing, it's weak. And it does effect others.

    I would vote against incarceration for possession, but for prohibitive fines.

    And with respect I realize that YMMV.
    Correct on the option part...a PERSONAL, INDIVIDUAL option. That said...no I have NEVER taken any drugs not prescribed or for recreational use. That doesn't however mean that I think that anyone or any government body has any rightful say as to what we can or cannot put into our bodies. I'll fight that one to the grave.
    If after they've "dosed" themselves, they turn and physically harm someone, or steal to get the money to pay for the drugs...fine. Bust them for that which is as it should be. If someone wants to throw away their own otherwise healthy life...thats their decision. The second the Government or you or I meddle in someone elses decision...we cease to be free and we take in vein the blood spilled to protect this country.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the crap out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    No doubt about it that people who use drugs do bad things. I don't use them or drink either. The question though; do you support individual liberty?

    I don't want people telling me what to do or how to live my life. I don't want antis telling me I can carry a gun or not because they have some kind of moral issue with it.

    So, to be fair, I don't think I should be able to tell another individual what he should do with his own body. If he kills someone driving a car while stoned or something, then charge him with murder and put him in jail or take him out back and shoot him in the head. If he steals to get drugs, then send him to jail for stealing. Maybe we could concentrate on getting our solved murder cases rate over 65&#37; as a nation instead of putting tons of people in prison for harming theirselves.

    This is of course aside from the fact that the War on Drugs is an absolute failure and waste of tons of money every year.

    Or really it could be summed up by this quote:
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
    Thomas Jefferson
    I agree in part with what you say. In principal I agree that personal liberty should be protected. I also think that the government should stay out of our lives. But, I also think that when people use recreational drugs to the point that they become burn outs and homeless and a leech on those of us who do not use them and lead lives by the law and pay our taxes, taxes that go partly to pay for their treatment, we do have a say in what they put in their bodies.

    I also have been to countries where drug use is legal. It is not the perfect utopia that the druggies would have you believe that it is. It is a huge crushing welfare state that will collapse under its own weight sooner or later. Possibly later since the entire European Union is now shouldering the load. But non the less, I do not want to see this greatest of all nations turn down that road.

    I believe in rights, but I also believe that when your civil rights infringe on my pursuit of happiness because of your behavior, then it is your behavior that should be limited, not my happiness.

    In other words, when my taxes are being used to provide treatment to the drugged out losers, I should be able to limit through legislation their ability to get those drugs.

    That's not a Nanny state, that is a representative Republic working just as it should.
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  15. #15
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    They are taxing something that has been declared as illegal.

    I dont beleive that that is legal.

    For them to "tax" it would seem to assume that it is a legal activity,when clearly it is not.

    Am I looking at this wrong ? To me it seems like a conflict of interests if nothing else.

    And while I am all for enforcement of illegal activites, this is over the top...in this case the government is acting the part of an extortionist by demanding a "tax". On one hand they say its illegal, on the other hand they say you own taxes on it. What a bunch of baloney.

    Some lawyer is gonna get rich off of this before its over.
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