Taxing Illegal Drugs?
Posted: March 16, 2015 in Legislative Issues
Rep Rhoads has put in a bill to tax illegal drugs in Missouri. Below is an article about the bill. It poses a great number of questions to my mind. We just thought you should know about it as the legislative session is now entering the manic phase and it will be difficult to keep up with what is going on and accomplish other things in life at the same time. Here’s the article:
March 11, 2015
State Rep. Shawn Rhoads wants Missouri to join more than 20 other states that already have taxes on illicit drugs in effect. He filed legislation, HB 1138, this week that would require individuals in possession of illegal substances such as marijuana or cocaine to obtain a drug tax stamp from the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Rhoads said his goal with the bill is to secure additional funding for the various drug task forces around the state that work diligently to keep illegal substances off the streets.
“Many other states including our neighbors to the west in Kansas utilize drug tax stamps as a way to generate an additional source of revenue. These laws in no way change the criminal penalties associated with possessing, using or distributing these illicit drugs, but they do allow the state to tax these goods in much the same way we do other items that are bought and sold,” said Rhoads, R-West Plains.
He added, “The tax would generate additional dollars to help fund the efforts of our drug task forces, as well as pay for drug treatment and antidrug public awareness programs. Considering we have seen our governor withhold funds from our task forces, it is imperative we find new revenue sources that will ensure they can continue their efforts to investigate and combat drug-related crimes.”
Rhoads’ bill would levy an excise tax on various illicit substances based on the amount. For example, marijuana would be taxed at the rate of $3.50 per gram while cocaine would be taxed at the rate of $50 per gram. Funds generated by the excise tax would then be deposited in the Drug Task Force Enforcement Fund, which is also created by the bill. The state treasurer would oversee the fund and distribute the monies it contains to the state’s various drug task forces, and to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to fund drug treatment programs.
The bill now awaits assignment to committee for further discussion.