'Freedom' study worth reading

July 25, 2011

A new study well worth reading by every elected official in Maryland is titled "Freedom in the 50 States."

You can find this study on the web at

It ranks Maryland as 43rd out of the 50 states, meaning that Maryland is one of the least free states in the country.

This study is very insightful and addresses both economic freedom (taxation) as well as unnecessary restrictions on personal liberties.

A prime example of the type of bad legislation that deprives Maryland residents of their freedoms is the recently enacted HB 88, which makes the shipment of cigars and pipe tobacco into Maryland illegal.

I have been buying cigars from other states by mail and the Internet for at least 20 years. Now, suddenly, as of May 1, it became illegal.

Fortunately, the Maryland comptroller realized how unfair and probably unconstitutional this law was.

As of today, he issued a moratorium on its enforcement until the legislature can consider the repeal or alteration of this law.

Obviously, he heard from a lot of cigar smokers, who were outraged.

It's too bad that no one in the comptroller's office (which proposed this legislation) or the legislature considered whether this law was an unnecessary restriction on a consumer's freedom to purchase legal products from other states before the bill was passed.

While it is now legal to purchase wine from out-of-state merchants, it is still illegal to purchase beer (with lower alcohol content) that way.

In fact, Maryland has all sorts of extraneous restrictions on alcohol, including the notorious multi-tiered distributor system that our legislature continues to prop up, despite every evidence that it is an unnecessary restriction on freedom.

These types of restrictions continue to increase with every legislative session, guaranteeing Maryland a permanent place at the bottom of any future rankings.

Isn't Maryland supposed to be "the free state"? Our ranking as 43 out of 50 is a disgrace to the concept of freedom.

Cal Oren


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