Man Arrested in Pennsylvania for Selling Bottle of Whiskey Secondhand


R Street has long favored legalizing the secondary spirits market to allow individuals to freely sell and buy antique and other previously-purchased spirits. As R Street's Kevin Kosar has written:

It seems like every month, I get an email or two from strangers asking me the same question. They read something like this: “Hi. My elderly father died, and when I was cleaning out his house to get it ready for sale, I found some very old looking bottles. Some of them are not open. Are they worth anything?”

Unfortunately, my response never is especially encouraging. There is, I inform them, no licit secondhand market for alcoholic beverages, for the most part... It is a confounding situation, which means, of course, it was created by government. People long have been free to sell their stuff. One need only visit an antique shop or a Goodwill store. There is a market for nearly everything, whether old baseball cards, DVDs and music cassette tapes, or jewelry, antique knives or eye glasses. The garage sale is an American tradition.

Yet various laws forbid consumers from reselling a previously purchased alcoholic beverage, even if it has not been opened... [More here].

Right on cue, the York Daily Record is reporting that Pennsylvania liquor authorities have arrested an out-of-state man for advertising a bottle of whiskey on Craigslist:

"A Maryland man who police say used Craigslist to sell a $750 bottle of whiskey was charged with violating Pennsylvania's liquor laws.

Paul Thompson, 60, of Westminster, was sent a summons for the misdemeanor unlawful sale of liquor. He was also cited for possession or transportation of liquor...

The criminal summons has nothing to do with Thompson crossing state lines, said Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Adam Reed. Instead, it simply comes down to the state's liquor code, which bans the sale of liquor and alcohol without a license.

'It's pretty cut and dry,' Reed said. He added that officers with liquor control enforcement keep an eye out for these types of cases. He called it somewhat common for people to use places like Facebook or other online platforms to sell higher-end liquor and wine.

While the law might be simple, it was not necessarily designed to target individuals who sell without a license, argues Kevin Hoffman, a York-based attorney and adjunct criminal law professor at York College..."

Read the whole article here.