Paying Taxes on Illegal Drugs

Clarifying Drug Laws in Olathe

Kansas law requires drug dealers to pay taxes on their drugs. Really? Really. While possessing marijuana or other illegal controlled substance with the intent to distribute is a felony in Kansas, it is also a criminal felony to not have a tax stamp for the illegal drugs. In fact, it is a level 10 felony. Kansas Statute 79-5202 even specifies the costs to be paid for these tax stamps. A gram of marijuana incurs a $3.50 tax. Each gram of a wet marijuana plant incurs a 40 cent tax. It's 90 cents per grams of dry marijuana plant. Each gram of a controlled substance incurs a $200 tax. 50 dosage units of drugs are to be taxed at $2,000.

Laws on Purchasing Tax Stamps

If you plan on selling illegal drugs, you are literally supposed to purchase the tax stamps from Kansas Department of Revenue and affix them to the illegal substances. Otherwise, you will potentially be charged with felony taxation. Additionally, in a separate taxation civil administrative case, Kansas may fine you, seize your property, or cause there to be liens against your property. To clarify, after you purchase and affix the stamps, the possession of the drugs themselves is still illegal.

Supposedly, when you purchase the tax stamps, which are good for three months, it's all anonymous. While I have my doubts about this anonymity, I've discussed this at length with Kansas's attorney who pursues the civil actions against violators. This lawyer insisted that it really is anonymous, some people actually purchase the tax stamps, and that Kansas is prohibited from sharing information about the purchasers of the drug stamps. This prohibition supposedly prevents them from even sharing the information with police or any law enforcement.

Double Jeopardy for Drug Crime Cases

Does it seem odd to you that a person could be convicted of both possession and taxation for the same illegally possessed drugs? It should, because it violates the Constitution. In fact, the Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled that convicting someone of both possession and taxation of the same drugs in the same conduct, violates the Double Jeopardy provision of the United States Constitution. The judges overruled a Court of Appeals decision which previously ruled said it was not a violation of Double Jeopardy. The Kansas Supreme Court case which decided this is State of Kansas v. Michael Hensley.

In that case, they analyzed K.S.A. 21-3107(2)(b), stating that the statute is contrary to the test often used, which is entitled the "same-elements test." K.S.A. 21-3702 prohibits a defendant from being convicted of both a greater and lesser crime. A lesser crime is defined as "a crime where all elements of the lesser crime are identical to some of the elements of the crime charged." Using this, the Court concluded that possession of marijuana is a lesser included crime of possession of marijuana with no tax stamp. Therefore, it violates double jeopardy to be convicted of both crimes for the same conduct.

Contact our Olathe criminal defense lawyers today to find out what step to take.

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