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Did You Know MN ‘Taxes’ Illegal Drug Sales?

Plus RBG gets dishonorable honor, O-Rod eats in Uptown, and an MOA M&M goes very viral in today's Flyover news roundup.

Wesley Gibbs via Unsplash

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

MN Moves to Repeal Illegal Drug Tax

Bad news for folks selling illegal drugs: You're supposed to be giving the government a cut of those transactions! Better call up your tax guy. In a funny little story from MinnPost, Peter Callaghan writes that folks who sell illegal substances are technically supposed to go through a whole rigmarole that involves purchasing stamps from the state Minnesota Department of Revenue building in St. Paul and then adhering those stamps to the marijuana, or cocaine, or ecstasy, or whatever you're selling, as proof of tax payment. Seriously!

"Sellers are expected to pay $3.50 per gram for cannabis, $200 per gram for controlled substances and $400 per dose for drugs not sold by weight," Callaghan writes. "If a dealer has already paid a similar tax in another state, they can claim a credit on their Minnesota levy."

As you can imagine, this is not a particularly lucrative tax, raising precisely zero dollars in fiscal years 2021 and 2022—though it did manage to fleece a dealer out of $1,000 back in 2014, when he thought (incorrectly) that paying the tax would grant him immunity. State Sen. Clare Oumou Verbeten (DFL-St. Paul) tells MinnPost the tax emerged in the peak 1980s War on Drugs era, and it was less a practical tax and more a way to tack on an extra charge when prosecuting drug offenders. But there's a serious side, too—unpaid taxes carry the potential to add lots of prison time for nonviolent offenses, which is why (in addition to the not-bringing-in-money aspect) legislators have introduced a bill to repeal it.

Opperman v. RBG

Last week, the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation announced the 2024 recipients of the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Leadership Award: Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch, Martha Stewart, Mike Milken, and Sylvester Stallone. And it may not surprise you to learn that the late Supreme Court Justice's family wasn't exactly thrilled about all of those winners, calling the selections "an affront to the memory of our mother and grandmother," according to Mother Jones.

There's a local angle here, I swear! Opperman, a businessman and lawyer, was the CEO of West Publishing Company in St. Paul. His wife Julie Opperman, who took over the foundation after Dwight's death in 2013, is a big-time Republican donor. Corporate lawyer Brendan Sullivan, who was Oliver North’s attorney during the Iran-contra scandal, is the chair of the foundation's RBG award, per MJ.

"This year, the Opperman Foundation has strayed far from the original mission of the award and from what Justice Ginsburg stood for," the Ginsburg family members said in a letter to the foundation, which you can read in full via Mother Jones. They kicked up such a fuss about the awards, in fact, that the foundation cancelled its scheduled April awards gala. “The foundation is not interested in creating controversy," Opperman said, adding that the org will “reconsider its mission and make a judgment about how or whether to proceed in the future.”

Where Will She Rodrigo Next?

Before her wildly sold-out, reportedly eardrum-rupturing show at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on Friday, Olivia Rodrigo dined at none other than Uptown Minneapolis's French Meadow Café. “We learned today that Olivia Rodrigo has great taste in food and was so sweet to take a selfie with FMB server Silvia after her lunch at French Meadow!” read a post on the the restaurant's Facebook page accompanying a selfie of the sad-girl pop star and a server named Silvia. Rodrigo also attended a Minnesota Wild game before the gig, but no word on what she ate at the X.

And speaking of great taste in food... look, we're happy for the staffers at French Meadow, but it simply must be said. Rodrigo ate better in Wisconsin:

Get It, Blue M&M!

Kind of a slow news day, folks. Let's sidle out of this Monday Flyover with a mega-viral TikTok filmed at the Mall of America last weekend:

@era.eats

Went to MOA last week and caught this on video so this trend couldn’t have come at a better time #stpatricksday #moa

♬ original sound - speed songs 🩷

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