Florida’s War on Drag Targets Theater’s Liquor License

“Conservative government scolds in Florida are making good on a Christmas threat against an Orlando performance venue and are trying to revoke its liquor license because it let minors attend a bawdy drag show with their parents.
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed an administrative complaint Friday against the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation, which operates The Plaza Live theater in Orlando. In December, The Plaza Live hosted A Drag Queen Christmas, a touring stage show of risqué drag performances with holiday themes.”

“For naughty Christmas lyrics, the state is threatening a business’s liquor license. The complaint charges six counts of violating state indecency regulations, all based on allowing children to attend.

The scant photo evidence the state includes in the complaint further substantiates the claim that the war on drag queens is a politically driven moral panic. To the extent that the show is indeed sexual, as with any other form of entertainment with adult content, parents and venues are well-equipped to decide for themselves whether to bring their children. It’s not a role the state should be deciding, and in so many other cases, the state does not.

Despite making a big deal about supporting parents’ rights in education, Gov. Ron DeSantis does not think parents should have the right to decide what kind of entertainment their children should consume.”

What 2022 Taught Us About Freeing American Alcohol Markets

“In the first two years of the pandemic, American alcohol rules underwent a fundamental shift. States started enacting emergency orders—and then cementing those orders in legislation—that authorized never-before-seen innovations in alcohol policy, such as letting restaurants and bars deliver booze and sell it to go. But if 2020 and 2021 ushered in new hopes of opening up American alcohol markets, 2022 is the year when protectionism struck back.
In the early months of the pandemic, state governments were reacting in real time to unprecedented circumstances. The new environment included stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines, and masking mandates. It no longer became viable for most retail businesses to rely solely on an in-person customer base, as the entire economy shifted over to a delivery-centric model. Restaurants, breweries, wineries, and neighborhood liquor stores all faced an existential business crisis.

States reacted by upending a nearly centurylong consensus on alcohol regulations. Before, it was essentially unheard-of to let a pizzeria throw in a margarita with a delivery order. Then states started issuing emergency orders that allowed it. And practices that had been slightly more common—such as allowing alcohol to be included in grocery store deliveries, which numerous states permitted before COVID-19—spread to an unprecedented number of locales.

Unsurprisingly, these changes proved popular. In states where citizens were polled, strong majorities expressed their support for more types of to-go and delivery booze. Lawmakers can read polls, and a wave of states either extended the reforms or made them permanent.

The results were dramatic. When 2020 began, no place in America had a statewide to-go or delivery alcohol law for restaurants. By the fall of 2021, 29 states had such a law on the books. During that time, another seven states passed laws permitting alcohol delivery from off-premise stores, such as grocery or liquor stores, and eight states passed laws expanding the delivery capabilities of breweries, distilleries, and other alcohol producers.

But in 2022, this explosive rate of reform slowed down. The progress didn’t stop altogether: Nine more states passed to-go or delivery alcohol laws for restaurants, and one more state authorized alcohol delivery from off-premise stores. But the pace of change noticeably declined. Worse yet, several reforms suffered high-profile defeats.”

“The opposition has finally had a chance to get organized. And by the opposition, I mean entrenched economic interests. In Colorado, incumbent liquor store owners felt the proposed ballot initiatives would hurt their bottom lines by allowing other types of stores, like grocery or chain stores, to sell and deliver alcohol. . And in California and elsewhere, alcohol wholesalers have become increasingly aggressive in opposing any direct-to-consumer reforms that would let alcohol makers cut out the middleman and ship products directly to their customers.”

Why Should a Drug be Illegal or Legal? Part Three: Costs and Benefits of Implementing Drug Bans: Video Sources

I used to support legalizing all drugs. Then the opioid epidemic happened. German Lopez. 2017 9 12. Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/4/20/15328384/opioid-epidemic-drug-legalization Dopesick Reinforces These Pernicious Misconceptions About Opioids, Addiction, and Pain Treatment Jacob Sullum. 2021 11 17. Reason. Two Courts Debunk Widely Accepted Opioid

Alcohol Delivery Doesn’t Lead To Underage Drinking

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, America has seen a drastic overhaul of alcohol laws. To-go cocktails are legal in most states, ordering a six-pack with your weekly grocery delivery order is now commonplace, and some locales have even started revisiting their open container laws to allow more outside drinking.

While most Americans have cheered these reforms, there has also been pushback. A common concern about alcohol delivery is that it could somehow provide a backdoor route for more underage kids to access alcohol. Although this may sound scary, America has experimented with alcohol delivery before, and new research shows alcohol delivery historically has not led to more underage drinking.

It may be tempting to conjure up scary images of children ordering booze via Mom and Dad’s Instacart account. But any sale of an alcoholic beverage, whether it occurs through a delivery app or at a brick-and-mortar store, provides a point-of-access in which an underage individual could obtain alcohol.”

“Decades of experience with direct-to-consumer wine shipments provide policy makers with a ready historical dataset from which they can analyze the potential impacts of alcohol delivery on underage drinking. Specifically, underage drinking has been tracked for decades by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey. The CDC survey asks, among other things, if high school students have had at least one alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days.

From the outset, it’s clear that underage drinking has been in a near free-fall over the past few decades. In 1991, over 50 percent of high schoolers drank alcohol, whereas only 29 percent do so today.

But even more interesting for the purpose of alcohol delivery, the data reveals that states that have continuously allowed direct-to-consumer wine delivery over the past few decades have actually seen a larger decline in underage alcohol consumption than states that prohibited wine shipments. Namely, states that allowed direct wine shipments from 2003 to 2019 saw a 44.3 percent decline in underage drinking compared to a 43 percent decline in states that forbid it during that entire timespan.

Furthermore, states that engaged in the most robust forms of direct-to-consumer wine delivery reforms between 2003 to 2019—by going from no direct wine delivery at all to full-fledged wine delivery—saw a larger decline in underage drinking than states that engaged in more modest reforms.

In other words, the more permissible states were with direct-to-consumer wine shipments, the more their underage drinking rates fell. This does not prove that direct wine shipments actually cause less underage drinking, but it does demonstrate that alcohol delivery is not correlated with more underage drinking.”

A better way to legalize marijuana

“Marijuana is nowhere as dangerous as alcohol. You can quite literally drink yourself to death; the same doesn’t apply to marijuana. So it’s almost certain that legalizing marijuana the same way won’t lead to all the same bad outcomes.

Still, there are some risks. A thorough review of the research, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, found that marijuana poses a variety of possible downsides, which can include a higher risk of respiratory problems (if smoked), an increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses, an increased likelihood of car crashes, a general decrease in social achievement, and, potentially, some harm to fetuses in the womb.

There’s also the real risk of addiction and overuse. As Stanford’s Keith Humphreys put it to the Atlantic, “In large national surveys, about one in 10 people who smoke [marijuana] say they have a lot of problems. They say things like, ‘I have trouble quitting. I think a lot about quitting and I can’t do it. I smoked more than I intended to. I neglect responsibilities.’ … People will say, ‘Oh, that’s just you fuddy-duddy doctors.’ Actually, no. It’s millions of people who use the drug who say that it causes problems.”

None of that is to make the argument for prohibition, which produces its own problems”

“An obvious question is: If the standard commercial model works for alcohol, why can’t it work for a newly legal drug like cannabis, too?

But this model doesn’t work well for alcohol. The nation’s second-most popular drug (after caffeine) is linked to nearly 100,000 deaths a year in the US — about the same as all overdose deaths, and more than the combined death tolls of car crashes and murders.

A different model could help. Previous research, for example, found that states that maintained a government-operated monopoly for alcohol kept prices higher, reduced access to youth, and cut overall levels of use”

When Forced To Choose, Some New Mexico Gas Station Liquor Stores Will Now Just Sell Liquor

“When New Mexico lawmakers make its owners choose between selling gas or selling liquor.

Some gas stations in a rural New Mexico county are being forced by an inane new law to choose between selling gas or selling liquor and wine. Some have chosen to close their pumps in protest and sell alcohol instead of gas.

The new ban is part of a larger package of changes to the state’s liquor laws—one its chief sponsor, Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D–Albuquerque), calls “the biggest reform of liquor laws in 60 years in our state.” The new law contains several key elements in addition to the gas station liquor ban. Many of those changes are steps in the right direction. In fact, the “original intention” of the alcohol bill was deregulatory in nature. Among other things, it lifts a ban on home delivery of alcohol, introduces a new, less expensive liquor license for restaurants, and allows alcohol to be sold longer hours on Sundays (on par with allowable sales hours on other days).

The bad parts of the law are, well, bad. Ask the owners of Kokoman Fine Wines in Pojoaque, which was forced to try to offload $65,000 worth of nip bottles—those little liquor bottles commonly found lurking in a hotel mini-fridge—after the new law banned their sale across the state.

And then there’s the ban on gas station sales in McKinley County, where three out of four county residents are Native American. Sen. George Muñoz (D–Gallup), who introduced the gas-station amendment to the new law, says he did so because “people die in McKinley County because of alcoholism.”

While I have no doubt that some people in McKinley County who abuse alcohol die from that abuse, compelling gas stations that sell alcohol to become alcohol stores that don’t sell gas probably won’t save many (or even any) lives, and may do just the opposite. The ban is also likely unconstitutional. That’s why one chain of gas stations has sued the state to overturn it.”

Let’s Make it Easier for Distillers To Ship Alcohol Directly to Adult Consumers

“Congress effectively prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from transporting beer, wine, or spirits directly to consumers. Such shipments must be made through FedEx, UPS, and other private shippers, which are often more expensive than USPS. A bipartisan bill introduced this summer, the USPS Shipping Equity Act, would end that ban and allow the USPS to ship alcohol from licensed producers to consumers of legal drinking age.

The second issue is that even though nearly every state allows DTC shipments of wine, and many allow DTC shipments of beer—directly from brewers and vintners, respectively, to consumers—only nine states currently permit direct shipments of liquor from distillers to consumers. While some states have temporarily relaxed DTC liquor shipment rules during the pandemic, in most cases there’s no promise those measures will remain in place going forward.”

“the three-tier system, a Prohibition relic under which states generally prohibit direct alcohol sales from a brewer, vintner, or distiller to a consumer. The three-tier system mandates these alcohol producers first sell to a distributor or retailer—a mandatory middleman—who can then sell to actual drinkers.”

“It makes no sense for Congress to (rightly) allow FedEx and UPS to deliver alcohol but not permit USPS to do the same. It’s equally bizarre for states to treat liquor shipments differently than shipments of wine, beer, or cider. In order to protect and create jobs, level the playing field for alcohol producers, and ensure consumers have more choices, Congress and state lawmakers must get to work.”

Study: Smoking bans saved countless lives — could they have increased drunk driving?

“While there is still some debate around the potential increase in drunk driving, there is a vast, peer-reviewed, scientific literature around the harms of secondhand smoke inhalation, and around the massive health benefits associated with the sharp decline in smoking in part due to smoke-free policies.

We know that smoking bans have been effective at reducing secondhand smoke exposure. Bans in restaurants, bars, and other hospitality establishments have the added benefit of ensuring that workers are not forced to carry the health costs against their will simply due to their place of employment. Bans have also been effective at reducing smoking and “reducing opportunities to smoke, changing smoking norms, and reducing smoking rates.”

Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, cancer, and death. Research has shown that heart attack admissions “rapidly declined” after the implementation of 100 percent smoke-free laws.

All of this to say that if there was in fact a small increase in fatal drunk driving accidents as a result of these bans, the bans were still worth it.”