A taxing situation
Indiana is one of the states that tax Marijuana. But unlike Colorado and three other states, you don’t get to pay your tax and enjoy your smoke. You can be criminally charged with possession or distribution, and if you haven’t paid your Indiana Controlled Substances Excise Tax, you can be charged not only the tax, but a 100% tax penalty on what you are criminally charged with.
The Controlled Substances Act in Indiana was passed originally in 1992, and was modified in 1996. As the law reads now, http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/archive/2013/ic/2013/title6/ar7/ch3.pdf you must pay $3.50 per gram of Marijauna. You receive an anonymous tax stamp, which is good for 30 days. The time of day you purchase the tax stamp is recorded, and you have 30 days of tax payment, to the minute. More information on the law can be found here: http://ilj.law.indiana.edu/articles/70/70_4_Paganelli.pdf . Thanks to INORML Vice Chair and defense attorney William Martin for these links.
Janet Hogan, an Indiana NORML Board member and Secretary of the First Church of Cannabis and I went to the Indiana Department of Revenue to procure a tax stamp for the Church. The FCOC, is registered with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office as well as recognized as a 501(c)(3) religious organization. The Church plans on opening with a service on July 1st, 2015, and views Cannabis as a sacrament.
We won’t know until then what happens. The eyes of the world will be on us, as the Grand Poobah of the church, Bill Levin, has stated he will be partaking in the sacrament.
Bill has met with Marion County (Indiana) prosecutor Terry Curry, who stated that if Bill fires up, he will be issued a summons and not be arrested and taken into custody on the spot. However, in a press conference on June 26th, Curry stated that anyone at the Church could be arrested or issued summons, contravening what Curry told Bill. Curry and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Rick Hite spoke quite ill of Bill, likening him to Jim Jones. Of course, Bill is not a “Cult” leader. He is very sincere about spreading the message of love and using Cannabis as a sacrament. I covered the use of Cannabis as a sacrament in a recent blog post on www.inorml.com. Curry and Hite were both very out of line in defaming Bill. They must be scared that their prohibitionist opinions are about to become very antiquated.
Bill is telling the public that anyone over 21 is welcome, but if you bring contraband, you are essentially liable to be arrested. He recommends not bringing a pipe or other device that can be determined to be paraphernalia. You should not put yourself in jeopardy if you are on probation.