For persons in Tennessee who are charged with drug possession, a criminal charge is not the end to their troubles. Under Tennessee, certain persons who are found to be in possession of drugs can be assessed an Unauthorized Substance Tax by Tennessee’s Department of revenue.
The Tennessee Department of Revenue will send out a “Notice of Assessment” that indicates that a person has been found in possession of untaxed, unauthorized substances and that they are liable for tax payments to the state. The amount taxed will vary depending on the substance and the amount you were alleged to possess, but will always be greater than $10,000.00.
Why is the tax greater than $10,000.00? There are two reasons. First, under Tennessee law, individuals who possess unauthorized substances can be categorized as “merchants”. A “merchant” is defined as any person who actively or constructively possesses any unauthorized substance in a quantity sufficient to create a principal tax liability of at least $10,000.00. This bring us to our second reason, the Tennessee Legislature has created a schedule of tax amounts on unauthorized substances. For example, the State levies 40 cents for each gram of harvested marijuana, $350.00 for each plant of marijuana and $50.00 for each gram of cocaine. When the State receives a report from the arresting agency, they review the amounts, determine if it meets the $10,000.00 threshold, and if so, assess the tax against you.