In case you thought it was bad that teenagers can buy tobacco over the Internet, a court – make that the Supreme Court – has just ruled that you can buy alcohol, specifically wine, over the Internet, and that individual states shall not pass laws which forbid buying wine over the Internet from out-of-state wineries.
At issue were the laws of New York and Michigan, both of which banned the purchase of wine from out-of-state wine sellers which ship directly to the consumer (which is how Internet wine sellers work), but which did not similarly ban wineries selling directly to consumers if the winery were in the same state (i.e. a person in New York could buy directly from a New York winery, but not from a winery in any other state).
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It isn’t just New York and Michigan laws which will be affected, however. As many as twenty-two other states have similar laws, all of which will have to be revised to either allow their citizens to purchase wine directly from out-of-state wineries, or to forbid direct-to-consumer wine sales in-state as well as out. In all, the states affected by this ruling include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont.
What Aunty wants to know however is how the wineries are going to make sure that they aren’t shipping alcohol to minors. Hopefully they will be at least as diligent as are those who maintain online tobacco shops and online pharmacies …. oh.. wait…
Clint Bolick, the attorney for the Institute for Justice, which represented the interest of local wineries in the case, said “This is the best day for wine lovers since the invention of the corkscrew.”
So remember, folks, don’t drink and drive. And now, thanks to the Supremes, it just became a little easier.
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