There was no run on drug stamps Friday morning. In fact, it was pretty tough and expensive to buy stamps.
Reading and hearing all the commotion about the state's new drug stamps that were issued beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, I decided it would be fun to buy four of the $3.50 one-gram marijuana stamps for my stamp album.The Legislature voted to require drug dealers to buy the stamps so that if a dealer was arrested trying to sell drugs and didn't have a stamp on his merchandise, he or she could be prosecuted for failure to have the stamps in addition to the normal drug charges.
The state decided to sell two other stamps, a $200 one-gram stamp for controlled substances and a $2,000 stamp for each 50 units of a controlled substance.
I didn't imagine any drug dealers would be buying the stamps because they would be afraid of being identified as a dealer. But I figured some collectors might be interested.
I certainly couldn't afford the expensive stamps, but I figured the $3.50 stamps might be collectors' items someday and it was April Fools' Day. So I went to the State Tax Commission office in the Heber Wells Building, 160 E. Third South, and went up to the sixth floor.
The joke was on me, though, because the manager of revenue control, Charles R. Pulver, told me he wasn't selling less than $150 worth of the $3.50 stamps. My idea of spending $14 for four stamps was no good.
"Of course, if you want to get your friends together and come up with $150, then you can buy 42 stamps," Pulver said. "Although, I'm not crazy about that idea."
The minimum purchase of the $200 stamps is $1,400, and the minimum for the $2,000 stamps is $2,000.
There was no line to buy stamps. In fact, I was the only would-be purchaser. I told Pulver I didn't have any friends with money and probably couldn't come up with $150. "I had a hard time coming up with $14," I told him.
Pulver said he had had several phone calls about the stamps. "I guess they were stamp collectors," he said.
Once I got a look at the stamps I decided they weren't worth even $3.50. They are blah in comparison to postage stamps or even tobacco tax stamps. The drug stamps come in three colors: green, blue and red, depending on the denomination, but they are more like stickers than stamps. There is no picture on the stamps, just a faint seal in the background not a seal like in the zoo, either.
I asked Pulver if he had ever had as much foolishness going on in his office in his career, and he said, "Well, I've only worked here a year and a half, but I'd have to say no, I never have had as much foolishness going on."
The trouble was, he was looking right at me when he said that.