Liquor board sets repeal of ID-for-all law

Annapolis panel votes to scrap it

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May 05, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

The Annapolis liquor board has taken its first step to repeal a law that requires gray-haired ladies and gentlemen who walk with canes to prove they are old enough to buy a bottle of booze.

Merchants and city officials say they are pleased that the board voted 4-1 last week in favor of rescinding a city law requiring liquor store clerks to ask for identification from all patrons.

"I'm very happy it's going to be over with," said Hillard Donner, owner of Mills Wine and Spirit Mart on the City Dock. "It's been terrible. What right do I have to ask the age of someone who is obviously 80 years old? I've had customers who won't show their ID. They live alone, and it's an invasion of their privacy."

The liquor board must hold a public hearing June 5 on its intention to rescind the law. Afterward, the board is required to send a resolution to the city council for its approval.

Leonard Berman, vice chairman of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control Board, expects the council to support the law's repeal. "It's been a terrible inconvenience for the merchants and their customers," he said. Until this month, though, the majority of the liquor board refused to repeal the regulation.

The group agreed to rescind the law only after Alderman David H. Cordle Sr. promised he would ask state legislators to include the city in the list of jurisdictions that could make selling liquor to minors a civil offense.

Because offenders could be written tickets on the spot if the violation were a civil offense, liquor board members and city officials say, it would make it easier for police to enforce the underage regulations.

Because the point of the law requiring every liquor store patron to show proof of age was to cut down on underage alcohol sales, the liquor board agreed that civil citations would be a better way to achieve the goal.

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