Exhibit: Taxation Without Legalization

keywords here

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


#
# #

Taxation Without Legalization
Illegal drugs are a $65 billion-a-year business, so it’s no wonder cash-strapped states would want to get their hands on some of that illicit revenue. Enter drug tax stamps, which have become a favorite with collectors but not with the criminals who are supposed to buy them. Drug tax laws were pioneered by Arizona in 1983 as a way to assess civil penalties on drug dealers even if they are not criminally convicted, and the laws have since been adopted by 16 other states. Dealers are supposed to stick the stamps on bags of marijuana, vials of cocaine, and other illegal drugs to prove they have paid the tax. Although they are assured that purchasing the stamps will not make them targets of law enforcement, it is no surprise that few dealers take the states up on the offer. North Carolina’s tax department, which has collected $66 million in fines from dealers caught with the goods but without the stamps, estimates the vast majority of the 63 stams sold have been to collectors, with only three being bought by actual drug dealers.

#
# #

The Holy Cola Wars

So you want to buy the world a Coke? Guess what? The Muslim world ain’t buying. And these days, neither are the French. To Fox-News-Watching Americans, that’s an outrage. But to Tawfiq Mathlouthi, the French-Tunisian founder of Mecca Cola, it’s a market opportunity.

“No more drinking stupid, drink with commitment!” goes the slogan on the bottle of Mecca, the purchase of which helps support Palestinian charities. And although Mathlouthi positions Mecca Cola as an Islam-friendly alternative for drinkers boycotting American colas, the beverage entrepreneur seems to be engaging in the sincerest form of corproate flattery. After all, his label’s design not only has the evocative Coke swoosh, but Mathlouthi has the cheek to market his formula as Mecca “Classic.”

It’s unclear how well the stuff is selling on the Arab street, where fundamentalists might find its commercialization of the holy land an abomination. But it has already sold millions in Europe, where it’s reported to be a hit among the anti-imperialist set. To date, the Coca-colonialists in Atlanta have kept their trademark lawyers at bay.

WE'LL BE BLUNT:

We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't find elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

payment methods

WE'LL BE BLUNT

We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate