Minn. man argues marijuana already legal due to state tax stamp - KMSP-TV

Minn. man argues marijuana already legal due to state tax stamp

Posted: Updated:
ST. CHARLES, Minn. (KMSP) -

The effort to legalize cannabis for Minnesota patients has seen a bumpy road to the Legislature so far this session, but one Minnesota man says the debate over marijuana is already over because a legal tax exists.

Stephen Conlin believes that since the state is already taxing it, it is legal to smoke, sell and buy marijuana. It is true that there is a form to be filled out, but even though it was seen as another way to go after drug dealers for failure to pay taxes, Conlin sees it as a green light to start dealing.

In the small town of St. Charles, a barber shop called "The Buzz" can be found just off Main Street -- but Conlin hopes to offer a lot more than a trim.

"I'm the first lawful dispensary and I'm fighting it in the courts," Conlin said.

Conlin argues that since the Minnesota Department of Revenue issues a stamp for marijuana, it's perfectly legal to sell it. Anyone with more than 42.5 grams of marijuana can buy a stamp anonymously, with the drug taxed at $3.50 per gram.

In the nearly 30 years since the law has been on the books, about $11,000 in stamps have been sold -- most of them to Conlin, who purchased $7,000.

"I bought them with the intention of legally going into the marijuana business," he told Fox 9 News.

It hasn't been easy, however. The local sheriff raided Conlin's home and business a few times, seizing plants, guns and high-grade cannabis with a street value of $85,000. At the time, Conlin was on the ballot for mayor, but he lost the election -- and in court.

"If they collected the tax, there is no crime," Conlin contends.

Yet, the statute specifically states that buying a stamp doesn't grant immunity from criminal prosecution. In fact, the penalty for not paying the tax is far greater -- a fine of up to $14,000 and seven years in jail. Even so, it is extremely rare for someone to be charged with criminal possession and failure to pay the tax; although, the a ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court found that would not be considered double jeopardy.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Search for Ty Hoffman called off after bank robbery in Blaine, Minn.

    Search for Ty Hoffman called off after bank robbery in Blaine, Minn.

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:11:43 GMT
    Ramsey County sheriff's officials said the search for Ty Hoffman has "heated up" after a suspect in the robbery at TCF Bank in Blaine appeared to match his description on Sunday.
    Ramsey County sheriff's officials said the search for Ty Hoffman has "heated up" after a suspect in the robbery at TCF Bank in Blaine appeared to match his description on Sunday.
  • 50 favorite photos from the Minnesota State Fair

    50 favorite photos from the Minnesota State Fair

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:26:10 GMT
    MNFFA Association visits the Fox 9 booth with a Miracle of BirthMNFFA Association visits the Fox 9 booth with a Miracle of Birth
    The Great Minnesota Get-Together is back with its hottest starting day in 20 years, 28 new foods and thousands of memories to be captured in photographs.
    The Great Minnesota Get-Together is back with its hottest starting day in 20 years, 28 new foods and thousands of memories to be captured in photographs.
  • The best tractor at the Minnesota State Fair

    The best tractor at the Minnesota State Fair

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:52 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:52:59 GMT
    The Great Minnesota Get Together wrapped up on Monday night, but although many people took home new prizes, one young man says the title he won pales in comparison to what getting there means to him.
    The Great Minnesota Get Together wrapped up on Monday night, but although many people took home new prizes, one young man says the title he won pales in comparison to what getting there means to him.
Widgets Magazine
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices