facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

If You Have Illegal Drugs In Nebraska, Better Get A Stamp

An obscure law from 1991 allows the state to require drug dealers to buy stamps for their illegal drugs or face hefty additional fines upon arrest.

Image: 

Photo via

By John Lavitt

05/06/14

| Share

In the war on illegal drugs, Nebraska's $100 drug tax stamp provides a perfect balance between creativity and revenue. Following the passage of a tax on illegal drugs, Nebraska began issuing the decorative stamps in 1991. Bought at Nebraska Department of Revenue offices, the drug stamp tax law provides the state with a legal way to collect money on drug deals. If you possess illegal drugs, Nebraska law requires that you have a stamp on those drugs.

A drug stamp does not legalize the product, but a person can be charged for not having one. In other words, you can still be busted, but if you are busted without a drug stamp on your drugs, the penalties you will face are much higher: $100 per ounce of marijuana, $150 per gram of cocaine, and $500 for every 50 doses of a controlled substance not traditionally sold by weight like LSD or prescription painkillers.

Since first being offered, only 625 stamps have actually been sold for a total revenue of $10,220. Most of the stamps have been bought by collectors as opposed to drug dealers trying to walk the straight and narrow. Still, it’s not a bad idea for drug dealers since no name is required for drug tax stamp purchases. After all, wouldn’t buying a drug stamp be a form of self-incrimination?

Most drug dealers only find out about Nebraska's punitive drug stamp tax after being caught and charged with a crime. The lack of a stamp means both the original drug tax and an additional fine must be paid. Drug dealers also face a potential Class IV felony, which carries up to five years in prison and a separate $10,000 criminal fine. The law was not designed for drug dealers to really buy the stamps, but as a way to add an extra financial penalty for being caught.

“It's just an exorbitant amount of money on something that's passing along through the state on the Interstate,” said Omaha-based criminal defense attorney Bill O’Brien. “It's not just (taxation) without representation, but without any notice.”

“Some people want to challenge it,” O’Brien continued. “They say it's unconstitutional. Some people think they can't possibly get away with that.”

According to State Tax Commissioner Kim Conroy, Nebraska has successfully collected $544,588 from evaders of the drug tax since 1991. Five percent of the tax proceeds go toward administration and enforcement of the tax. Half the remaining money is devoted to law enforcement and drug education programs in the county where the drugs were found, and the rest goes to the Nebraska State Patrol.

But Conroy has also said the program has moved away from being just a punishment for drug dealers into the realm of obscure curiosity with art collectors. 

“They're almost like a little piece of artwork to some people,” she said.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
A Man—With an Eating Disorder

When I tell people I have an eating disorder, I get surprise, sympathy, empathy and laughing-shock: "Men can have eating disorders?”

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv