The Smithsonian Institution wants to include a set of Utah drug stamps, designed to add a little extra bite to drug enforcement, in its stamp collection, state Tax Commission officials say.
Commissioner Roger Tew went to Washington this weekend to present the stamps Tuesday to Smithsonian officials, commission spokesman Lee Shaw said Saturday.The Utah drug stamps will become part of the Smithsonian's U.S. Postal History and Philately Section collection, Shaw said, along with copies of the 1988 anti-drug legislation.
Even through dealing in controlled substances already is a crime, the Legislature passed the drug stamp bill to give law officers an extra tool for prosecuting drug dealers. The minimum purchase price is $150 for the marijuana stamps and $1,400 for stamps on drugs sold by weight, such as cocaine.
The marijuana stamp has a face value of $3.50 and the stamps for drugs sold by weight cost $200 each. They must be affixed to all illegal drugs or a convicted dealer could be fined up to $10,000 and have to buy the stamps.
"The drug stamps are just another means of applying legal pressure in the prosecution of drug dealers," Shaw said.
"The commission made an exception to the rule requiring a minimum purchase for the stamps in light of the request from the Smithsonian Institution."
Earlier this month, two California men arrested with 234 pounds of marijuana were the first to be charged under the new law. If convicted, they could be fined the $10,000 and ordered to purchase $371,500 worth of the stamps.
Since the law went into effect last month, the Tax Commission has sold 515 of the drug stamps. The state, Shaw said, believes the buyers all were stamp collectors.