In addition to normal laws banning the sale of illegal drugs, Iowa also has a Drug Tax Stamp law that makes it a separate crime to sell illegal drugs without having first purchased a drug tax stamp. Iowa Code Section 453B addresses the tax stamp requirements.
The tax stamp requirement applies to 7 or more grams of most drugs (e.g. cocaine, heroine), or 42.5 grams of marijuana, or 1 marijuana plant, or 10 dosing units (e.g. pills). Iowa law requires that the tax stamp be permanently affixed to the drugs. Failure to follow the Iowa drug tax stamp law is a D felony, punishable by a 5 year prison term, as well as an additional fine (often $1,500).
Although it is probably stating the obvious, the Iowa drug tax stamp act is not really an attempt by the state of Iowa to get people to purchase tax stamps and affix them to the drugs they (illegally) sell. Rather, it is a means of increasing the charges and possible penalties in drug cases filed against defendants in Iowa.
I have represented clients in cases where we were able to obtain a dismissal of the drug tax stamp charge based upon the weight of the drugs being below the minimum. Often, prosecutors will file such drug tax stamp charge without having properly weighed the alleged drugs, which is why I always like to review the weights in cases where a tax stamp violation is alleged.
As with cases where the alleged intent to deliver is at issue, another defense to a drug tax stamp charge is to show that the person accused of possessing the drugs that lacked a tax stamp did not intent to deliver the drugs to another person, and instead intended to personally use the drugs.
The drug tax stamp law in Iowa is a somewhat unique approach to drug criminalization that is not seen in many states. Although it is somewhat strange, it is still a serious charge that must be handled properly. For that reason, people facing drug tax stamp charges in Iowa should seek an attorney at once.