Special Marijuana Tax Violates Double Jeopardy Clause

1994

In Department of Revenue v. Kurth Ranch, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the double jeopardy clause prohibits a state from imposing a special tax on individuals who have been convicted of growing marijuana. The Court rules that because the tax is more like punishment than a typical revenue-raising measure – in that it is imposed only on people who have been convicted of growing marijuana and who no longer own the “property” for which they are being taxed because it has been confiscated by police – that it is a second penalty for the same offense. Therefore, the double jeopardy clause does not permit it.