Vote Against Internet Wine Sales Misguided
An artile in the Annapolis Gazette entitled Vote against Internet Wine Sales Misguided that talks about direct wine shipment.
Friday, April 30, 2010
One of the bills not mentioned in the 2010 legislative session wrap-up (April 16) would have allowed
Marylanders to order wine and have it shipped directly to their homes. Astoundingly, it is a felony to ship
wine into, from or within Maryland. Many residents choose to get around the law by shipping their wine to an
address in D.C. or Virginia, so Maryland loses out on tax revenue.
The bill did not make it out of committee because it received 12 "yes" votes and eight "no" votes, one shy of
the 13 required to pass. One of the "no" votes was cast by Charles Barkley (D-District 39), who chose to
ignore e-mails and calls from his constituents urging him to vote in favor. He explained his vote by saying he
had serious concerns about teenagers getting access to alcohol via the Internet.
This concern was addressed fully during public testimony that the 38 states that allow direct shipment of wine
all require the signature of someone who is at least 21, that direct shippers such as UPS and FedEx are
diligent about checking IDs, and that there are no documented cases of underage drinking of wine obtained
over the Internet.
For such a problem to occur, a teenager would need a credit card, be willing to spend a few hundred dollars
for a case of wine (including a $60 mailing fee) and have a fake ID good enough to fool a trained delivery
Since Mr. Barkley can't possibly believe that allowing direct shipment of wine to Maryland would somehow
enable underage drinking, we are left to conjecture about his real issue with the bill. Could it be that he
doesn't want to lose a generous donation from the wealthy liquor lobby?
Charles Barkley did not represent his constituents during the 2010 legislative session is Annapolis. It's time for
him to be replaced by someone who will listen to the citizens of Montgomery County.