Pubdate: Tue, 5 Feb 2008
Source: Pipe Dream (NY Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Pipe Dream
Author: Ron Fisher
Note: Titled by Newshawk


To the Editor:

Kudos to Mr. Min for pointing out some of the fundamental flaws in
taxing illegal drugs (taxing illegal drugs is a crime itself, Monday,
Jan. 28). However, I want to make sure people understand exactly what
these "tax stamp" laws do: They create a system where folks caught in
possession of a small amount of marijuana can in fact face two trials,
one criminal for the offense, and another civil tax action by the
state. Essentially, it legalizes double jeopardy, saddling minor
offenders with the costs and inconvenience of a second trial after the

Fortunately, these acts of legal chicanery are going out of fashion.
Tennessee, which formerly had one of the worst examples of this kind
of legislation, recently had their tax stamp statute thrown out by the
Tennessee Supreme Court. Around the country, states are looking harder
at these laws, and are realizing that they do little except provide
law enforcement more financial incentive to enforce minor drug
offenses with extreme prejudice.

It would be most unfortunate for New York to now enact what is rapidly
becoming a legislative antique. I hope Binghamton students join Mr.
Min and me in opposing the passage of this anachronistic law.

Ron Fisher

National Outreach Coordinator

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
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