Increasingly, states are using the civil codes to go after drug dealers. Their methodology in Oklahoma involves taxing illegal drugs using a drug tax stamp.
A drug dealer is supposed to buy a tax stamp for all illegal drugs in his or her possession and affix it to the drugs in their possession. Not having the stamp is a crime in Oklahoma and opens a person up to criminal and civil penalties. Okla. Stat. tit. 68 § 450.2
How the Law Works
Under the drug tax stamp law, a “dealer” must purchase and apply the stamp to the drugs when the dealer purchases, obtains, or transports an illegal drug. The stamp is put on immediately after receipt of the substance. And each stamp may only be used once. Okla. Stat. tit. 68 § 450.3
In Oklahoma, illegal drugs, or “controlled dangerous substances” are classified and codified according to risk under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act of Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 68 § 450.1
Although Oklahoma has recently enacted new legislation making simple possession of any illegal drug a misdemeanor, the law remains harsh with regard to drug dealers.
You May Be a “Dealer” For Purposes of This Law
Unfortunately, Oklahoma law can imply that you are a dealer merely by looking at how much of an illegal drug is in your possession. Okla. Stat. tit. 68 § 450.3
So how much is enough? Not all that much as it turns out:
- 42 1/2 grams of marijuana or more,
- 7 or more grams of any illegal drug other than marijuana, or
- 10 or more dosage units of any other illegal drug other than marijuana. Okla. Stat. tit. 68 § 450.1
If you grow your own marijuana, you might be considered a “dealer” under this law.
Penalties For Having No Drug Tax Stamp
Since no person in possession of an illegal drug actually purchases the stamp, once a person is arrested for possession, in addition to being charged for the possession and possible trafficking, a person will have to face criminal and civil penalties for failure to have obtained the stamp.
In addition to paying the tax itself, you must pay 100% of the tax as a civil penalty. No drug tax stamp also has criminal penalties. You could face felony charges punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 68 § 450.8
Civil Penalty Amounts
The civil penalty amounts are 100% of the tax amount. The tax amounts vary depending on the drug involved.
One gram of marijuana: $3.50.
One gram of an illegal drug other than marijuana: $200.
50 dosage units of another illegal drug: $1,000. Okla. Stat. tit. 68 § 450.2
There May Be Defenses Available
There may be defenses available to you if you are arrested for possession and do not have the stamp. Often police fail to properly weigh and inventory the drugs taken.
The amount of the drugs involved must meet the thresholds listed above. If they do not and the police have failed to properly weigh or account for the amounts, you may be able to obtain a dismissal. This and other possible defenses should be discussed with an experienced Okmulgee criminal defense attorney.
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