I recently went to an estate sale in San Antonio that was selling items belonging a retired and recently deceased Pharmacist from Arkansas. There was an interesting – to say the least – collection of old medicine bottles including quite a few that still had their contents. There were some partially-filled and some full, unopened bottles of Laudanum, Codeine, Alcohol Tincture of Cannabis, and Phenobarbital – among many others.
I was rather surprised to see all these drugs selling at an estate sale with no DEA thugs in suits and aviator glasses wrapping yellow Crime Scene tape around the house, and at the time I seemed to be the only person interested in all the contents of these old bottles. There were huge collections of old medical instruments and other paraphernalia that were getting all the attention – these bottles were actually in a couple of cardboard boxes under one of the tables.
I won’t go into what goodies I bought at this sale because that’s not what this post is really about. But one thing that I found that really fascinated me was in an old yellow envelope, and here are a few pictures of it.
So , at least in 1970, the IRS was issuing Tax Stamps to pharmacies that dealt in Coca Leaves. Note that the permit says “This is a tax receipt –not a license.” You can bet that I went through everything at that estate sale to see if I could find Max-I-Mart’s license, but no luck with that.
But I have to ask myself, what was the IRS doing issuing Tax stamps to pharmacies for “Opium, Coca Leaves, and Marihuana” (quaint spelling a la the ignorant Feds) if those pharmacies weren’t dealing in those items? And if they were, then Coca Leaves were being prescribed (at least in Arkansas) as recently as 1970.
I don’t have the answer to the obvious questions:
1. If pharmacies were filling prescriptions for Coca Leaves in 1970, where were they buying those Coca Leaves?
2. When did all this stop, if it did.
3. If it didn’t stop, is the IRS currently issuing Tax Stamps for Coca Leaves?
4. And if they are, where is the list of pharmacies (and perhaps others, like a certain “soft drink” company) who are paying for these Tax Stamps.
But inquiring minds really, really do want to know – am I right?