Chilling out in Annapolis

Ice cream: Striking down a weights-and-measures law we didn't know we had.

March 23, 2002

IN A REFRESHING show of bipartisanship, the Maryland House of Delegates this week overwhelmingly voted to make it legal for a kid to buy an ice cream cone, walk outside and eat it. Same goes for an adult.

This isn't legislation that changes life as we know it, but it's worth applauding nonetheless.

Apparently, under current state law, "frozen desserts" must be sold by fluid volume, except for ice cream when it is sold "for immediate consumption on the premises." So customers have the choice of either ordering their ice cream by the ounce or the pint (or, for the less disciplined among us, the gallon) or by the less scientific "dip," which must be eaten right then and - more to the point - there.

Scofflaws abound, especially on those days when it's so warm that ice cream hits the spot but not so warm that it turns to a sticky mess snaking from wrist to elbow.

We urge the Senate to pass this measure quickly. But even if that happens, WWI, or "walking with ice cream," won't suddenly become a legal activity. That's because the law isn't scheduled to take effect until October. October?

That means that through the long, hot days of summer, Marylanders will simply have to eat their ice cream by the pint - or take their licks on the sly from a contraband cone.

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