Making Sense in Michigan

It became clear that sensible minds reside in the state of Michigan when we saw Judge Denise Page Hood rule earlier this month that a Michigan law barring Michigan residents from buying and having shipped to them wine from out-of-state retailers was unconstitutional. There is even more evidence of common sense coming out of Michigan. It’s demonstrated in the pages of the Grand Rapids Press.

An editorial in that newspapers makes a clear and concise argument that the state ought, instead of appealing the ruling, simply put in place rules and regs for out of state retail shippers similar to the rules and regulations that allow out-of-state wineries to ship into Michigan:

"Instead of an appeal, Mr. Cox and the Michigan Beer and Wine
Wholesalers Association, should spend that time making sure necessary
regulations are in place to cover this broadening of direct wine
shipments to Michigan residents. The laws enacted to cover out-of-state
winery shipments should be sufficient. Those laws require out-of-state
wineries to have an approved direct shipper’s permit, register with the
Michigan Department of Treasury and pay sales and excise taxes. Their
shipments to residents must be clearly marked as "wine" and signed for
by an adult."

A 30-day stay of the decision has been issued while the Attorney General and the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers consider whether or not to appeal. Appeals are expensive for all parties involved. The question has to be asked, are the people of Michigan best served by spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars on chasing an appeal of the decision? Or are the people of Michigan better off being given the opportunity to access the full measure of the American wine market while also having the state collect sales tax on wine shipped into the state that can be used to augment the alcohol regulatory body in the state that oversees direct shipment or even use for other laudable activities?

Most sensible folks would see the above question as rhetorical. Unfortunately, it appears the state of Michigan as well as the Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association actually see hard choice to make.

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2 Responses

  1. Thomas Pellechia - October 14, 2008

    Does the Attorney General work for distributors in every state? I always thought the AG was a public servant. What am I missing?

  2. Dylan - October 14, 2008

    I’ve been following this story since you started posting it. While it doesn’t effect me, it effects progress. So, I hope Grand Rapids Press’ words inspire people to start taking smart moves toward the proper legislation.

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