Friday, September 07, 2007

Taxes on Illegal Drugs

The Americans have been experimenting with this for some time. According to this article from CNN,

In Tennessee, when you acquire an illegal drug (even "moonshine"), you have 48 hours to report to the Department of Revenue and pay your tax, in exchange for which you'll receive stamps to affix to your illegal substance. The stamps serve as evidence you paid the tax on the illegal product.

Don't worry that you might get in trouble for admitting you have enough drugs to fuel a rave party for years. You need not provide identification to get the stamps and it's illegal for revenue employees to rat you out.

Still, next door in North Carolina, which has had a similar law for 15 years, only 79 folks have voluntarily come forward since 1990, according to the Department of Revenue. Most were thought to be stamp collectors, or perhaps just high. Another 72,000 were taxed after they were already busted.

North Carolina has collected $78.3 million thus far, almost all from those arrested and found without stamps.

North Carolina's population is only 9 million, so that's not a bad tax haul. 23 American states now have this law. I think we should consider doing the same but add a twist and outsource this as with parking tickets - I'm sure so many people would get busted they would think it better not to do drugs at all, and the drug-busting units would be self-financing and maybe even revenue contributors. And it would be funny watching the Daily Mail trying to argue against this tax.

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