Nebraska is tough on illegal drugs. The most lucrative targets are out-of-state driver stops along Interstate 80, one of the major routes for transporting marijuana through the state of Nebraska. In addition to other charges, the State also files the crime of not purchasing a tax stamp and affixing it to the illegal drugs. Twenty states, including Nebraska, have drug tax stamp laws. Most people are unaware of the law until they are charged with a tax stamp violation in addition to being charged with possession of marijuana or another illegal drug.
The drug tax stamp is an additional way for Nebraska to generate revenue and increase the punishment for possession of marijuana. In addition to charging drivers with possession of illegal drugs and/or trafficking of illegal drugs, law enforcement officers are charging drivers caught in the Interstate 80 traffic stops with failing to purchase a drug tax stamp.
What is a Drug Tax Stamp?
In 1991, Nebraska passed a law requiring anyone in possession of illegal drugs to purchase a tax stamp to affix to the drugs. The drug tax stamp does not make the drugs legal; however, you can be charged with a separate crime for failing to have the tax stamp affixed to drugs in your possession. According to Nebraska Revised Statute 77-4302, “No dealer may possess marijuana or controlled substances upon which a tax is imposed by section 77-4303 unless the tax has been paid on the marijuana or controlled substance as evidenced by an official stamp, label, or other indicium.”
A dealer is defined by the statutes as any person who “manufactures, produces, ships, transports, or imports into Nebraska or in any manner acquires or possesses six or more ounces of marijuana.” Therefore, if you have six or more ounces of marijuana or another illegal drug in your possession, you can be charged for failing to have a drug tax stamp affixed to the illegal drugs.
Drug tax stamps were intended as an additional penalty to punish drug dealers and individuals caught transporting marijuana and other drugs through Nebraska. The tax rate for marijuana is $100 per ounce over six ounces. Obviously, very few drug tax stamps have been issued in Nebraska since 1991.
What is the Penalty for Failure to Purchase a Drug Tax Stamp?
While the idea of a drug tax stamp may seem ridiculous, the penalties for a conviction on this charge are very serious. Anyone failing to pay the drug tax and affix a drug tax stamp on illegal drugs is charged with a Class IV felony. The possible sentence for a conviction under a Class IV felony is five years in state prison and/or a fine of $10,000 in addition to the sentence you may receive for possession of an illegal drug.
Contact Petersen Criminal Law to Speak with an Experienced Drug Defense Attorney
Do not let a drug charge ruin your life. Tom Petersen has aggressively represented clients across Nebraska providing experienced criminal defense for over 16 years. 90% of his practice is in the criminal courts.