Drug Money: North Carolina's little-known tax on illegal drugs and … – WHQR
On this week’s show: the North Carolina Unauthorized Substance Tax, or the NC Drug Tax.
If you haven’t heard about it, you’re not alone. We actually first started looking into it last month, after the Wilmington Police Department asked city council to use $40,000 in the substance tax revenue to build a museum (council delayed the decision to next week).
Related: WPD wants to use $40,000 in NC drug tax to start ‘law enforcement museum’
If you have heard about the tax, you probably know that while law enforcement considers it a valuable funding source, critics call it a predatory tax that targets poor and marginalized communities.
The drug tax is assessed when someone gets arrested with illegal or illicit drugs and alcohol in their possession — but the tax doesn’t go away if those charges are changed or dropped. And they grow, with fines and interest, which the state can recoup by garnishing paychecks, and taking property.
We’ll talk to Phil Dixon, an expert on criminal defense who educates public defenders at UNC’s School of Government, about how that works. We’ll also talk to Daquan Peters, an advocate with NC Second Chance Alliance who has seen first-hand how the law has haunted both guilty and innocent people.
And, while local law enforcement declined to give interviews on the drug tax, we’ll do our best to present what the benefits are.
Links and resources:
Below: A North Carolina unauthorized substance tax stamp