Persons in possession of illegal substances must pay taxes on them, in North Carolina. Not kidding.

This is not the Onion.  This is not a  joke.  Controlled substances, meaning Moonshine and Drugs, are taxed in North Carolina.  So after you get arrested, you get a tax bill.  And that tax bill can get sky high.  We can help with that.

  1. What is the unauthorized substances tax?
    • The unauthorized substances tax is an excise tax on controlled substances (marijuana, cocaine, etc.), illicit spirituous liquor ("moonshine"), mash and illicit mixed beverages.
  2. Who is required to pay the tax?
    • The tax is due by any individual who possesses an unauthorized substance upon which the tax has not been paid, as evidenced by a stamp.
  3. When is the tax due?
    • The tax is payable within 48 hours after an individual acquires possession of an unauthorized substance upon which the tax has not been paid, as evidenced by a stamp.
N.C. Tax Revenue Official Site

Unauthorized Substance Tax Rates

Substance
Tax Rate
Minimum Quantity Before Tax is Due
Marijuana stems & stalks that have been separated from the plant. $.40 for each gram or fraction thereof More than 42.5 grams
Marijuana other than separated stems and stalks $3.50 for each gram or fraction thereof More than 42.5 grams
Cocaine $50.00 for each gram or fraction thereof 7 or more grams
Any other controlled substance that is sold by weight $200.00 for each gram or fraction thereof 7 or more grams
Any other controlled substance that is not sold by weight $200.00 for each 10 dosage units or fraction thereof 10 dosage units
Any low-street-value drug that is not sold by weight $50.00 for each 10 dosage units or fraction thereof 10 dosage units
Illicit Spirituous Liquor sold by the drink $31.70 for each gallon or fraction thereof No minimum
Illicit Spirituous Liquor not sold by the drink $12.80 for each gallon or fraction thereof No minimum
Mash $1.28 per gallon or fraction thereof No minimum
Illicit Mixed Beverages $20.00 on each 4 liters and a proportional sum on lesser quantities No m
Read more "Persons in possession of illegal substances must pay taxes on them, in North Carolina. Not kidding."

Prosecutorial Misconduct in NC, Sandy & Supris

Before a home invasion robbery trial, the Prosecutor disguised, hid, and obscured evidence that the victim of the home invasion was a major drug dealer, who had 150 pounds of marijuana seized from his home.  The ADA asked the police to delay arresting the victim for trafficking until after the home invasion trial.  The ADA secretly communicated and coordinated this subterfuge with the police department using her private email accounts, and denied the defendant's access to evidence that bolster their claims that the victim was, in fact, a drug dealer and the defendants were there to settle accounts on a drug deal.  The ADA allowed the victim to testify that he was not a drug dealer, a claim that she knew or should have known was false.  This information came to light during the federal prosecution of the "victim". Convictions overturned. Court of Appeals Opinion. The Defendant's MAR. Read more "Prosecutorial Misconduct in NC, Sandy & Supris"

Public resources for Substance Abuse, Mental Health, & Developmental Disability treatment.

If you need help, and you don't know where to go, you can start by searching here.  These listings include only those providers who have current contracts with Smoky Mountain LME/MCO to provide State-funded and Medicaid-funded services. Other services may be available in your area from providers who do not contract with Smoky Mountain. Western Region: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties WHN Legacy Region: Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania and Yancey counties Central Region: Alexander, Caldwell and McDowell counties Northern Region: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga and Wilkes counties Smokey Mountain LME, serving individuals with mental health, developmental disability and substance use issues in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties Read more "Public resources for Substance Abuse, Mental Health, & Developmental Disability treatment."

We Can’t Arrest Our Way Out of Addiction.

North Carolina has maintained severe penalties for Heroin and other opiates for 36 years.  Maybe we have been doing it wrong?  Maybe we should approach this as a medical problem instead of a criminal problem?  Currently, our kids are dying and being sent to prison at shocking rates.   Heroin Trafficking History and Penalties in North Carolina.  The statutory provisions addressing drug trafficking, N.C. Gen. Stat. §90- 95(h)(2009) (App. 1-10), were first enacted in 1980. 1979 Session Laws Ch. 1251, sec. 6. The legislative intent behind the drug trafficking laws were clear: to come down hard on opiate trafficking, especially Heroin.  Those statues were supposed to be used against drug dealers who facilitate large scale flow of drugs.  Then Governor Hunt, who proposed the bill, said it was aimed at “big time drug dealers who had be drive to North Carolina by strong anti-drug laws elsewhere.”  It was NOT intended to change the penalties for small time offenders convicted of possession, manufacture, or sale of drugs in small quantities as provided in current laws. NCGS § 90-95(h)(4)Any person who sells, manufactures, delivers, transports, or possesses four grams or more of opium or opiate, or any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium or opiate (except apomorphine, nalbuphine, analoxone and naltrexone and their respective salts), including heroin, or any mixture containing such substance, shall be guilty of a felony which felony shall be known as “trafficking in opium or heroin” and if the quantity of such controlled substance or mixture involved:
  1. Is four grams or more, but less than 14 grams, such person shall be punished as a Class F felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 70 months and a maximum term of 93 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000);
  2. Is 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams, such person shall be punished as a Class E felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 90 months and a maximum term of 120 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000);
  3. Is 28 grams or more, such person shall be punished as a Class C felon and shall be sentenced to a minimum term of 225 months and a maximum term of 282 months in the State’s prison and shall be fined not less than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000).
The threshold amounts necessary to trigger application of the most drug trafficking provisions reflect the legislative intent to address large-scale drug distribution in most areas. For marijuana, the minimum threshold is 10 pounds. §90-95(h)(1). For cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamine, the minimum amount is 28 grams. §90-95(h)(3), (3b) and (3c). For drugs measured by dosage unit, like LSD, MDA/MDMA, and methaqualone, for example, the minimum number of dosage units to trigger the lowest level of drug trafficking varies from 100 dosage units (LSD, MDA/MDMA) to 1000 dosage units (methaqualone). §90-95(h)(2), (4a) and (4b). With respect to the four gram minimum for trafficking in heroin or opium, §90-95(h)(4), the typical bag of heroin sold on the street contains 30 to 50 milligrams. Thus, possession of a minimum of approximately 100 bags of heroin is necessary to satisfy the minimum trafficking threshold. Evan M. Musselwhite, Comment, One Tough Pill to Swallow: A Call to Revise North Carolina’s Drug Trafficking Laws Concerning Prescription Painkillers, 33 Campbell L. Rev. 451, 470 (2011) Opioid prescription painkillers did not come into common use until long after §90-95(h)(4) was enacted. Their common use began in 1986, when the World Health Organization recommended their use in pain management for cancer patients. However, “[o]pioid analgesics were not even widely prescribed for pain treatment in non-cancer patients until the mid-1990s.” Musselwhite, supra at 467. At that point, their medical use increased dramatically by 402% between 1997 and 2002, id. at 456-457, as did the abuse of prescription pills, which also became a significant concern beginning in the mid-1990s. Id. at 467. Under these circumstances it is readily apparent that when N.C. Gen. Stat. §90-95(h)(4) was enacted in 1980, the General Assembly gave no thought to the potential application to prescription painkillers. Now end users and small time dealers or pain pills are routinely caught with trafficking weights of “heroin” even though they may be possession of less than 100, or 20, or even 10 doses. Consequently, users and dealers are terrified of the police, because they may go to prison for 70 month for possession of even a small, personal use amount of pills.  Example: Vicodin/Hydrocodone 325 weigh .5 grams each, and most of the weight is acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you have 8 of those pills, you have 4 grams of heroin under a literal application of the heroin trafficking statute, which is unjust, but it happens all the time.   A valid Rx is a defense to the charge of trafficking, but it will not protect the teenagers and young adults who get into their grandparent’s supply.  That’s how it starts.  First pill popping, then snorting.  Shooting heroin is the last stage. Clearly, this approach is failing.  And maybe the legislature is recognizing that.  In 2013 the legislature passed the Naloxone Access Law that makes it legal to possess and administer Narcone, and removes some of the legal dangers to the user and good Samaritan, when they call 911.  That statute was adjusted a limited in 2015, but it is essentially the same. When you call 911 for help for a drug overdose, you and the person who overdoses are immune from prosecution for simple possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, et cetera.  Contraband will be seized by the police, but possession of 1 gram or less shall not be prosecuted, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 90-96.2. Limited Immunity for Samaritan. – A person shall not be prosecuted for any of the offenses listed in subsection (c3) of this section if all of the following requirements and conditions are met:
  • (1) The person sought medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose by contacting the 911 system, a law enforcement officer, or emergency medical services personnel.
  • (2) The person acted in good faith when seeking medical assistance, upon a reasonable belief that he or she was the first to call for assistance. (3) The person provided his or her own name to the 911 system or to a law enforcement officer upon arrival.
  • (4) The person did not seek the medical assistance during the course of the execution of an arrest warrant, search warrant, or other lawful search. Page 2 Session Law 2015-94 Senate Bill 154-Ratified
  • (5) The evidence for prosecution of the offenses listed in subsection (c3) of this section was obtained as a result of the person seeking medical assistance for the drug-related overdose.
The immunity described in subsection (b) of this section shall extend to the person who experienced the drug-related overdose if all of the requirements and conditions listed in subdivisions (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subsection (b) of this section are satisfied. Read more "We Can’t Arrest Our Way Out of Addiction."

Good Samaritan Law for Ovedoses is clarified, effect 8/1/15

When you call 911 for help for a drug overdose, you and the person who overdoses are immune from prosecution for simple possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, et cetera.  Contraband will be seized by the police, but possession of 1 gram or less shall not be prosecuted, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 90-96.2. Limited Immunity for Samaritan. – A person shall not be prosecuted for any of the offenses listed in subsection (c3) of this section if all of the following requirements and conditions are met:
  • (1) The person sought medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose by contacting the 911 system, a law enforcement officer, or emergency medical services personnel.
  • (2) The person acted in good faith when seeking medical assistance, upon a reasonable belief that he or she was the first to call for assistance. (3) The person provided his or her own name to the 911 system or to a law enforcement officer upon arrival.
  • (4) The person did not seek the medical assistance during the course of the execution of an arrest warrant, search warrant, or other lawful search. Page 2 Session Law 2015-94 Senate Bill 154-Ratified
  • (5) The evidence for prosecution of the offenses listed in subsection (c3) of this section was obtained as a result of the person seeking medical assistance for the drug-related overdose.
The immunity described in subsection (b) of this section shall extend to the person who experienced the drug-related overdose if all of the requirements and conditions listed in subdivisions (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subsection (b) of this section are satisfied. Full text of the updated statute: Good Samaritan Law Clarified Read more "Good Samaritan Law for Ovedoses is clarified, effect 8/1/15"

Watch for Me, N.C.

Beginning, September 1, the Asheville Police Department will begin issuing citations for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists who are not abiding by traffic laws as a part of the Watch For Me NC campaign. Here are just a few reminders: - Motorists: You are required by law to yield to pedestrians who are crossing at corners or in crosswalks. - Pedestrians: Did you know that there is no such thing as jaywalking? However, there are rules that must be followed, such as obeying traffic signals (walk/don't walk signs) and yielding to motorists when not in a crosswalk. - Cyclists: You are responsible for abiding by the same traffic laws as motorists. More Information. Read more "Watch for Me, N.C."

Narcan Opiate Overdose Emergency Kits Available for FREE

The Harm Reduction Coalition of of Asheville is providing much needed Narcan kits for those in need in Asheville.  They have kits that consist of two vials of Narcan and syringes with instructions, and they have a few kits of Narcan Auto injectors, for people who are not comfortable with needles.   You can buy Narcan kits at Pharmacies, but the auto injector kits are expensive, running $700-$800 .  This is life saving technology available for free.

Confidential Contacts for information and kits.

What is Narcan™ (naloxone)?

Narcan™ (naloxone) is an opiate antidote. Opioids include heroin and prescription pain pills like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin. When a person is overdosing on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop and it can very hard to wake them from this state. Narcan™ (naloxone) is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. It cannot be used to get a person high. If given to a person who has not taken opioids, it will not have any effect on him or her, since there is no opioid overdose to reverse.

How does Narcan™ (naloxone) work? 

If a person has taken opioids and is then given Narcan™ (naloxone), the opioids will be knocked out of the opiate receptors in the brain. Narcan™ (naloxone) can help even if opioids are taken with alcohol or other drugs. After a dose of  Narcan™ (naloxone), the person should begin to breathe more normally and it will become easier to wake them. It is very important to give help to an overdosing person right away. Brain damage can occur within only a few minutes of an opioid overdose as the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain. Narcan™ (naloxone) gives concerned helpers a window of opportunity to save a life by providing extra time to call 911 and carry out rescue breathing and first aid until emergency medical help arrives.

Doesn’t a person need to be a medical professional to be able to spot a serious overdose and give Narcan™?  Research has shown that with basic training, nonmedical professionals, such as friends, family members or even concerned bystanders, can recognize when an overdose is occurring and give Narcan™ (naloxone), and in North Carolina, you are protected from civil liability for giving Narcan by the Good Samaritan Law.

 NCGS § 90-96.2 Good Samaritan/ Naloxone Access law, effective April 9, 2013, states that individuals who experience a drug overdose or persons who witness an overdose and seek help for the victim can no longer be prosecuted for possession of small amounts of drugs, paraphernalia, or underage drinking.  The purpose of the law is to remove the fear of criminal repercussions for calling 911 to report an overdose, and to instead focus efforts on getting help to the victim. The Naloxone Access portion of  NCGS § 90-96.2 removes civil liabilities from doctors who prescribe and bystanders who administer naloxone, or Narcan, an opiate antidote which reverses drug overdose from opiates, thereby saving the life of the victim.  NCGS § 90-96.2 also allows community based organizations to dispense Narcan under the guidance of a medical provider. As a result, officers may encounter people who use opiates and their loved ones carrying overdose reversal kits that may include Narcan vials, 3cc syringes, rescue breathing masks and alcohol pads.

Is the use of naloxone by non-medical people controversial?

No.  Recently the American Medical Association endorsed the training of lay people in the use of Narcan (naloxone) to prevent overdoses.  Also the director of Office of National Drug Control Policy,Gil Kerlikowski (the U.S. Drug Czar), remarked that naloxone distribution is a key component of overdose prevention.

Can Narcan™ (naloxone) harm a person?       

No. Narcan™ (naloxone) only affects people who are using opioids. If a person is not having an overdose but has been using opioids, Narcan™ (naloxone) will put them into immediate withdrawal. This can be very uncomfortable for the person, but is not life threatening.

Read more "Narcan Opiate Overdose Emergency Kits Available for FREE"

Overdose Awareness Free Naxolone Training & Kits August 29, 2015 6:30-9pm, Firestorm Books 610 Haywood Rd.

Free Narcan Kits and Training Saturday, 8/29 6:30-9 at Firestorm Book Store at 610 Haywood Rd. Drop in for a few minutes and save a life. Narcan is treatment for opiate overdose that is safe, fast acting, and effective. Narcan is legal to give to anyone who has OD'd on Heroin, Fentanyl, Morphine, Oxy - most opiates. Life saving information and life saving medicine. If someone you love is an opiate user, you need to be there.   In preparation for International Overdose Awareness Day (8/31), the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition will be hosting a drop-in naloxone training. Kits will be distributed to participants at no cost. Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a medication called an “opioid antagonist” used to counter the effects of opioid overdose, for example morphine and heroin overdose. Specifically, naloxone is used in opioid overdoses to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally. Naloxone is a nonscheduled (i.e., non-addictive), prescription medication.  Citizens who give Narcan to someone who has overdosed is protected from civil liability under the Good Samaritan Law which also protects users from prosecution when they call for medical aid. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) is North Carolina’s only comprehensive harm reduction program. NCHRC engages in grassroots advocacy, resource development, coalition building and direct services for law enforcement and those made vulnerable by drug use, sex work, overdose, immigration status, gender, STIs, HIV and hepatitis. Firestorm Books & Coffee
610 Haywood Rd, Asheville, North Carolina 28806
https://www.facebook.com/events/492684954221185/
  Read more "Overdose Awareness Free Naxolone Training & Kits August 29, 2015 6:30-9pm, Firestorm Books 610 Haywood Rd."

It was the district attorney’s job to protect the rule of law rather than to ignore wrongdoing by law officers…

Orange County D.A. Office removed from Murder Case Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals ruled Thursday that prosecutors had shown a "chronic failure" to comply with orders to turn over evidence to the defense, and had so far deprived Dekraai — who has pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder — of his right to a fair penalty-phase trial, in Orange County, California. The legal wrangling involved how Dekraai came to occupy a jail cell next to a prolific jailhouse informant. Prosecutors and jailers said it was a coincidence, but Dekraai's attorney insisted it was part of a widespread operation to elicit incriminating remarks from defendants who were represented by lawyers, a violation of their rights. Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas' conflict of interest in the Dekraai case "is not imaginary," the judge wrote. "It apparently stems from his loyalty to his law enforcement partners at the expense of his other constitutional and statutory obligations." In hearings last year, the judge heard testimony from Orange County jailers Seth Tunstall and Ben Garcia, who belonged to the "special handling" unit that dealt with informants. Despite extensive questioning, however, neither made mention of secret jailhouse computer logs — called TRED records — with which both had extensive experience...The ruling marked a victory for Dekraai's defense attorneys, who said the district attorney's office had covered up wide-ranging misconduct in its zeal to put the killer on death row. On Oct. 12, 2011, Dekraai walked into the Salon Meritage and opened fire, killing his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48, along with salon owner Randy Fannin, 62; Lucia Kondas, 65; Michele Fast, 47; Victoria Buzzo, 54; Laura Elody, 46; Christy Wilson, 47; and David Caouette, 64, who was shot as he sat in his car outside. Read more "It was the district attorney’s job to protect the rule of law rather than to ignore wrongdoing by law officers…"

“Watch for Me, N.C.” Campaign August 4, 2015 in Asheville.

Asheville area earned the dubious distinction of having the highest pedestrian accident rate among the largest 10 metro areas in the state.  So the Police, Deputies and District Attorney are targeting these offenses.  As part of this campaign, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists could see more warnings and tickets as part of a campaign to cut accidents in the area, cited as having one of the highest collision rates in the state. Warnings and later tickets could happen for violations that include walking on the road when a sidewalk is present or riding a bike at night without lights. When you’re driving: • Yield to people in crosswalks. • Be prepared for bicyclists to take the whole lane — it’s their right if they need it. • Pass bicyclists only when it is safe to do so and be sure to give them plenty of room. When you’re walking: • Obey all pedestrian traffic signals. • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as you can. • Look for cars in all directions before crossing a street or parking lot. When you’re bicycling: • Obey all traffic signals and come to a full stop at “stop” signs and red lights. • Ride in the direction of traffic. • Use front and rear lights and reflectors at night. • Use hand signals to indicate when turning. (NOTE: The city allows bicycling on sidewalks.) Find more at http://watchformenc.org. Read more "“Watch for Me, N.C.” Campaign August 4, 2015 in Asheville."