Can You Imagine Tax Men at Woodstock?

The Bonnaroo music festival was held this weekend in Manchester, TN. (Which, incidentally, is only a few miles from where I was born and raised.&...
by | June 18, 2007

Bonnaroo The Bonnaroo music festival was held this weekend in Manchester, TN. (Which, incidentally, is only a few miles from where I was born and raised.  The whole Bonnaroo thing started since I left Tennessee, though. It's still really disconcerting to me when I tell people where I'm from, and they respond with, "Oh man, is that where Bonnaroo is??")

Anyway, it's a huge, four-day festival of bands. Now, not to shock you too much on a Monday morning -- and I hope you're sitting down -- but some Bonnaroo attendees enjoy engaging in illegal drug use.  I know -- SHOCKING.

Well, it's no surprise to the state of Tennesse, either. The state used the opportunity to enforce its controversial tax on illegal drugs, which took effect in 2005. Like 24 other states, Tennessee levies a tax (or tries to) on illegal substances like cocaine, marijuana and moonshine. People who purchase drugs are required to send taxes to the state. The idea is that they can do so anonymously, and the state won't use the tax forms to prosecute drug users.

There's only one event where the state actually sends agents to enforce the tax -- Bonnaroo.

State agents have collected $5.4 million so far, with an untold portion of that coming from their efforts at Bonnaroo, the only event in the state manned by tax agents.

Between 30 and 40 concertgoers in 2005 faced taxes and fines, estimated Laney, who could not provide exact statistics.

Coffee County sheriff's officers, who help inspect vehicles entering the concert grounds, arrested 147 people in 2006, many on drug charges. More than 200 were cited, Sheriff Stephen Graves said.

The agenst take cash from the concertgoers and can also confiscate their property, like their cars. However you feel about a tax on illegal drugs, that's gotta be a major buzzkill (no pun intended) for somebody's weekend.

Zach Patton  |  Executive Editor
zpatton@governing.com  | 

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