Hometown Annapolis posted the article below about it being "time for the General Assembly to end the farce" with regard to direct wine shipping in Maryland:
Our Say: Maryland's ban on shipping wine overdue for repeal
If you told most Marylanders that it is a felony to ship wine directly to consumers in the state, they might be startled or amused. But few would truly be indignant.
Most state residents who drink wine are probably satisfied with the
10,000 or so kinds on offer at the state's liquor stores, and not
interested in the 80,000 or so American wines unavailable here.
Comparatively speaking, not that many spend vacation time visiting
wineries, keep up to date on the latest vintages, or want to join an
online wine-of-the-month club.
And most state residents also have
no direct ties to the 40 or so Maryland wineries, which are being hurt
because the ban on direct shipping also applies to them.
why this ridiculous ban survives year after year, in spite of
increasing legislative interest in ending it. We're hoping matters are
different this year, but there are no guarantees.
Some 33 states
(including Virginia), as well as Washington, D.C., allow direct
shipping. These jurisdictions represent some 80 percent of the
country's population. In them liquor wholesalers and retailers are
doing just fine, revenue from taxes on alcoholic beverages pours in,
and the problem of underage consumption of booze, if no better, is also
Numerically, the small cadre of liquor wholesalers and
retailers who benefit from Maryland's ban may be even smaller than the
number of state residents who find it inconvenient or damaging. But
they are better organized, have enough money to make hefty campaign
contributions and hire good lobbyists, and have certain key legislators
in their pocket. So the farce goes on.
One of its silliest
aspects is the argument that the state's creaky "three-tier" system of
distribution (wholesaler-to-retailer-to-customer) keeps booze out of
the hands of the underaged. Of course. What 17-year-old would try to
get beer right now by conning a local store employee with a fake ID, or
having some irresponsible older buddy make the purchase? Why should he
do that when he can order a premium California merlot online, and sit
around for a week or so waiting for it to be delivered to his parents'
The liquor lobby also argues that direct delivery of a sort
is allowed under the current Direct Wine Seller's permit - a system so
awkward, restrictive and seldom used that it's estimated that only
about $150 in taxes and permit fees have been collected through it in
Much more would be collected if legislators followed
through on proposals that would allow any winery or retailer to ship up
to 24 cases a year to any adult Marylander, impose the state's sales
tax on the purchase, and require an adult's signature to complete the
Perhaps this whole issue is only small potatoes - or,
if you like, small grapes. But it's a classic example of why so many
are cynical about the state legislature. It's time for the General
Assembly to end the farce.