Great moments in asset forfeiture law

The Massachusetts House of Representatives last week “approved a bill that would ban flavored e-cigarettes, impose a 75 percent excise tax on ‘electronic nicotine delivery systems’ (including e-liquids as well as devices), and authorize forfeiture of cars driven by vapers caught with ‘untaxed’ products.” The law specifies that the state can seize, resell, and keep the proceeds from a motor vehicle, boat or airplane found to have contained or transported a single untaxed vaping device. “This is completely insane and endangers the property rights of anyone in Massachusetts,” said Dan Alban of the Institute for Justice, an attorney who has worked on cases of forfeiture abuse. [Jacob Sullum, Reason]


  • I was wondering, as I clicked the link, whether “great” should have quotation marks. I was right.

  • You never know—the highest court in Massachusetts may uphold this attempt at tyranny–after all, the judges on that court upheld a conviction where some guy was taping a cop who pulled him over.

  • A waste of public money because the very first seizure of assets under this law will result in a court decision that nullifies the law.

  • Could it not be argued that this violates the excessive fines clause of the Constitution?