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United States v. Sanchez (1950)

  • By: John H. Barnhill
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

In the case of United States v. Sanchez, the United States had sued in district court to recover taxes it claimed under the Marihuana Tax Act, 50 Stat. 551 (26 USC, section 2590, et seq.). The defendant challenged the constitutionality of the tax, but the Supreme Court upheld the legitimacy of taxation for purposes other than raising revenue. The United States sued for $8,701.65 in tax and interest. The defendants argued that the money was not a tax but a penalty, and the district court granted the motion to dismiss without an opinion. The Supreme Court reversed the district court finding.

Marijuana was legal for certain medicinal and industrial purposes. The Internal Revenue Code established a tax on marijuana of up to $100 per ounce. The ...

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