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MS: Proposed Law Would Slap Drug Dealers With Fines

Goldie

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MS: Proposed Law Would Slap Drug Dealers With Fines



JACKSON - The House is considering a tax on illegal drugs, a requirement that drug dealers buy state tax stamps for the marijuana, crystal meth and other drugs they sell.

No drug dealer not high on his own merchandise is going to pay the tax. But when they are busted, under the proposed law, the state could levy a tax lien on the dealers' property and cash, even if it wasn't earned through the drug trade. It would provide prosecutors and the state another means of penalizing drug dealers and bring in more revenue to state and local coffers.

"It's just another tool to use to go after the narcotics peddlers," said Rep. Leonard Bentz, R-Biloxi, who is pushing the legislation.

Tennessee, South Carolina and Idaho already have similar laws. South Carolina, which has had the law in place for several years,collects $10 million to $25 million a year. Tennessee's law took effect only in January, and the state has garnered nearly $1 million.

During Prohibition, Mississippi and other states used similar black-market tax strategies on bootleggers.

Because the proposal comes near the end of the legislative session, after deadlines have passed, the House had to vote to suspend its rules so work can begin on a bill.

The first vote to suspend the rules Friday failed, but a second attempt passed. Supporters said the first vote failed because many lawmakers didn't understand the intent of the legislation.

"It's just another tool to use to go after the narcotics peddlers."

2005, The Sun Herald
Contact: letters@sunherald.com
Website: http://www.sunherald.com
 

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