Michigan got a new Liquor Control Commissioner a few years ago. I don’t know him, but he seems to be doing a lot of things right. Although I still dislike dealing with liquor matters because it’s a morass of absurd restrictions created by special interests and a web of what I call “bureaucratic common law” (rules created by state employees that you can’t find in the statute or regulations, but that nonetheless create real problems for clients and give lawyers ulcers), our new Commissioner seems to be doing his best to reduce the red tape. Plus, the Michigan legislature has over the past ten years implemented a few (though not nearly enough) liquor code amendments that are helping a bit.
And regardless of how bad things are in Michigan under the 21st Amendment, we’re better off than Pennsylvania. Since I started my once-a-week blogging about alcohol matters, Pennsylvania’s absurd liquor laws have cropped up on my radar screen more than the laws of all other states combined.
The most recent example: Pennsylvania v. 2,447 Bottles of Wine . It seems a man brought 2,447 bottles of fine wine across the state border. He says he bought it for his private collection. The district attorney said he was selling it without a license. They compromised: He was allowed to keep 1,047 bottles for his collection. The authorities now have the other 1,400 bottles, and they’re preparing to destroy them because that’s what the Prohibition-era law requires.
Wine lovers are in arms. They and some legal scholars are insisting the judge read the Prohibition-era statute in light of current conditions.
I disagree. It’s a shame to … Read the rest