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MD Wine Shipping Press Conference

February 4, 2010

Annapolis, MD – consumer advocate group Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws (MBBWL) held a press conference today with state legislators today to announce a majority of lawmakers now support their bill to allow for direct shipments of wine to Maryland customers. The bill still faces hurdles, however, as Maryland state procedures dictate that before the bill can go up for debate during the 2010 session, it must first gain approval from the two committees that oversee all alcohol bills. If it does make it to the floor, Maryland should be on track to join 37 other states that allow direct wine shipments, including Pennsylvania and Virginia (and “when I grow up I want to be a real state” DC).

Here’s our report from the field:

Senator Raskin described the movement as a “Landmark moment… from all sorts of people, anachronistic conditions… asking leaders to follow us in doing the right thing with some laws.”

  • Senate leadership supports the bill, but concerns remain about underage purchases. My reaction – if 37 other states can control this issue, why can’t Maryland?
  • Part of today’s press conference sought to address retail and restaurant concerns about the impact of shipping wine on their sales. Reports from other states show that direct shipments have no negative effects, and that’s too much data to ignore any longer.
  • Another concern presented by the bill sponsors is the common practice of Marylanders (even state delegates, *gasp*) purchasing wine in other states – a felony under current laws that do not allow individuals to transport wine into the state. This outdated law no longer reflects the reality of a much more mobile society.
  • Finally, at a time when Maryland must resort to legalizing slot machines for additional tax revenue, blocking direct shipments pushes consumers to ship to friends in other states. That pushes tax dollars out of Maryland and seems like a losing situation for both the state and consumers (technically felons at this point).

Word from the MBBWL supporters on the floor was that direct e-mails to your district’s Senator or Delegate actually do help, so please write in favor of this much-needed legislation! Look up your representatives at the Maryland General Assembly website. You can also find more information about the MBBWL and ways to support their efforts at MBBWL.org.

Marylanders, if the state does pass new legislation allowing for direct wine shipment, where will you order from first? Maybe a case club at a local winery, or something more exotic?

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