United States v. Sanchez

340 U.S. 42 (1950)

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United States v. Sanchez

United States Supreme Court
340 U.S. 42 (1950)

Facts

Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which required certain people and businesses to register with the government and pay a special tax before selling, importing, manufacturing, prescribing, or transferring marijuana. A person or company was only permitted to transfer marijuana pursuant to a special government order form obtained by the transferee. In order to obtain the order form, the transferee was required to pay a special tax of either $1 per ounce if the transferee had already registered or $100 per ounce if the transferee had not already registered. If a transfer was made without the transfer form and the transferee did not pay the special tax, the transferor was responsible for paying the tax. The United States (plaintiff) filed this civil lawsuit against Sanchez and others (defendants) as transferors to collect the special tax. Sanchez filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the special tax was unconstitutional as a penalty rather than a tax. The district court agreed and dismissed the case. The United States filed a direct appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clark, J.)

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