Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Booze Across State Lines? Tennessee, You Are Obnoxious!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 1:05 PM

click to enlarge Booze_ban_logo_02.jpg
There's been a law on the books for years that bans folks like you and me from bringing wine, liquor or beer from other states into Tennessee. You know that trip to Sonoma you're planning on taking? Better drink all that cab first, because packing it in your suitcase makes you a criminal. Hell, you can't even ship it to yourself.

My first instinct would be to flaunt this law, which is clearly unjust, anti-competitive and irritating as hell. But then I wonder: How is this even legal? The Constitution prohibits states from discriminating against out-of-state businesses, but my interpretation is simply too loose. Only licensed wholesalers and manufacturers can bring hooch in currently, according to an opinion penned by the state attorney general.

In 2005 the United States Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban direct Internet purchase from out-of-state wineries while allowing in-state wineries to do the same thing--a ruling against hypocrisy I suppose. New state legislation will seek to lift that ban. And it would clearly be a boon: Tennesseans will be happy because they can purchase bottles not found on the shelves of your local liquor store, and Tennessee wineries can sell to out of state customers.

Until then, get caught with a small amount and that's a $500 fine. More than three gallons and you're looking down the barrel at a felony.

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