Maryland liquor laws still outdated [Letter]

December 09, 2013

Betty Buck missed a great opportunity with her commentary ("The failed experiment of Prohibition," Dec. 5). While there are plenty of things learned from Prohibition, I found her offering to reveal none of them and that instead it was a nice, but poorly disguised, pat on her organization's back.

Her organization, the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association, probably has more interest in keeping the status quo than fighting alcohol abuse, unsafe alcohol, decreased respect for the law and other things mentioned. In particular, whether her organization has anything to do with it or not, Maryland is a repressed state where retailers (and consumers) are forced to pay excessive prices because of the system of middlemen she calls the "collaborative system between producers, distributors and retailers" and the "transparent supply chain."

How this layer of middlemen helps to make the product safer, or in her words to "ensure that consumers are of legal drinking age" is a mystery. I have never seen anyone checking ages except for retail clerks, and I highly doubt that the wholesalers are evaluating products for safety or quality. Her middleman association and others have very much to do with a practical inability of Marylander's to buy alcohol online or via the mail, which is an additional attack on competition but is also a huge hindrance to wine and liquor aficionados.

We will have the gold standard she describes when the free market is allowed to work properly. Stay thirsty!

J. Tarleton

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