11 March 2010

Md. Wine-Shipping Bill Not Dead Yet?

So says the All We Can Eat blog at the Washington Post:

Legislation to allow Maryland residents to have wine shipped directly to their homes is still alive in the state Legislature, but on life support – and proponents lost a main advocate last week when the head of a citizens group pushing for direct shipping resigned abruptly.
Adam Borden, executive director of Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws, resigned Friday afternoon following a three-hour hearing on direct shipping before the state House of Delegates Economic Matters Committee. Borden sent an impassioned e-mail to supporters Monday morning announcing his resignation.
Characteristically, he went down swinging.
"Many in leadership have said that 2010 is NOT the year to debate wine shipping,” Borden wrote. “Why not, I ask you? Because our leaders fear angering what is arguably the most generous political patron in the state at a time that every incumbent Delegate and Senator desperately needs campaign funds.”
Those campaign funds come from wine wholesalers who are adamantly opposed to direct shipping, fearing that such legislation would undermine the traditional alcohol-beverage distribution system put in place upon repeal of Prohibition in the 1930s. Borden estimates direct shipping would account for only about 1 percent of wine sales in Maryland.
Maryland is one of 13 states that prohibit their citizens altogether from having wine shipped directly to their homes from retailers or wineries, and efforts to change the law have been repeatedly stymied in the Maryland Legislature. This year, as I have reported, Borden was hopeful the bill might pass because a majority of legislative members signed on as co-sponsors.
More in the blog post.

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