Minn. man argues marijuana already legal due to state tax stamp - FOX 35 News Orlando

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>>

  • 5 Minnesota State Fair foods that make the most money

    5 Minnesota State Fair foods that make the most money

    Friday, August 22 2014 2:19 PM EDT2014-08-22 18:19:04 GMT
    There's a big misconception about food vendors at the Minnesota State Fair. Many people think you can set up a booth, work 12 days and make a pile of cash. But it's not that easy. Aside from a lot of hard work, it also takes some luck.
    There's a big misconception about food vendors at the Minnesota State Fair. Many people think you can set up a booth, work 12 days and make a pile of cash. But it's not that easy. Aside from a lot of hard work, it also takes some luck.
  • 28 new foods at Minnesota State Fair in 2014

    28 new foods at Minnesota State Fair in 2014

    Wednesday, June 25 2014 2:57 PM EDT2014-06-25 18:57:53 GMT
    The Minnesota State Fair is adding 28 new foods to the already massive, artery-clogging list of 500 foods from 300 different vendors. New food include everything from a bacon-wrapped turkey leg and beer gelato to a shrimp dog and chocolate salami.
    The Minnesota State Fair is adding 28 new foods to the already massive, artery-clogging list of 500 foods from 300 different vendors. New food include everything from a bacon-wrapped turkey leg and beer gelato to a shrimp dog and chocolate salami.
  • Little Canada man charged with murder for deadly push into traffic

    Little Canada man charged with murder for deadly push into traffic

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:48 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:48:30 GMT

    A Little Canada, Minn. man accused of deliberately pushing another man into traffic has been charged with murder. Michael Merten, 41, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 47-year-old Robert Hilgren after the two got into a shoving match the night of Wednesday, Aug. 20.


    A Little Canada, Minn. man accused of deliberately pushing another man into traffic has been charged with murder. Michael Merten, 41, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 47-year-old Robert Hilgren after the two got into a shoving match the night of Wednesday, Aug. 20.


Widgets Magazine
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

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