Crack Tax

It seems that everything is taxed these days, and illegal substances are no longer an exception:

Starting Saturday, Tennessee drug dealers and moonshiners will also become Tennessee tax dodgers unless they’ve purchased new stamps now available at state Department of Revenue offices.

“The way this is set up, once anyone comes into possession of an illegal substance, they have 48 hours to purchase a stamp,” said Al Laney, the department’s director of tax enforcement.

The goal of this law, of course, is not to get criminals to buy the stamps, but to bust them for tax evasion should they be caught. It sounds like a good idea and all; after all, locking up criminals for a longer period of time is generally a good thing. But what happens if some opportunistic lawyer argues that the fact that a substance is taxed in effect “legitimizes” it? I know such an argument would be ridiculous, but judges make ridiculous rulings every day, so I think it is worth considering.

Hopefully, there won’t be any unintended consequences with this.

UPDATE: Pink Kitty is offering some commentary on this new law.

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