Missouri

Missouri Retailers Can Now Honestly Advertise

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In the past, we have covered Missouri's tight commercial speech laws. Until last week, an arcane  law had banned alcohol retailers from mentioning specific alcohol prices, even if it was truthful. This not only resulted in vague restrictions on mentioning discounts, but also made it difficult for businesses to compete with others across state boundaries:

"I get calls all the time from stations on the borders of the state," says Mark Gordon, president and CEO of the Missouri Broadcasters Association. "'Can I mention this discount price, or say that?' And they can't. They're competing with stations across state lines, and they don't get a level playing field."...

In legal filings, lawyers for Missouri argued they had a compelling interest in discouraging overconsumption. But the state's laws didn't bar stores from selling alcohol below cost — or even advertising those prices inside the store. It simply banned them from being advertised outside the store...

Read more about Missouri's law here.

Protectionism Upheld in Missouri

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The three-tier alcohol system often works to prevent dynamic delivery models, including shipping alcohol to consumers via mail. A court in Missouri recently dismissed a lawsuit seeking to allow out-of-state retailers to ship to Missouri consumers, citing the state's current alcohol distribution system: 

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) today applauded a Missouri judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit that attempted to compel Missouri to let out-of-state retailers ship alcohol directly to Missouri residents, circumventing the state’s distribution system (Sarasota Wine Market v. Parson). The ruling reinforced the legitimacy and importance of the state’s system of beverage alcohol distribution and sale...

The ruling also noted that, 'to allow out-of-state retailers to ship directly to Missouri residents would not only burden in-state retailers, who would have to operate within the . . . system while out-of-state retailers could circumvent the Missouri regulatory system entirely, it would also violate the Twenty-first Amendment by undermining Missouri’s ‘unquestionably legitimate’ system.'"

Read the entire article here.

Half-price pitchers and $1 shots could be advertised under bill advanced in Missouri House

Missouri's legislature is considering loosening commercial speech laws on bars and alcohol retailers which currently prevent them from advertising specific price discounts on booze. Kurt Erickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

"Cheaper booze prices could be coming to Missouri under legislation advancing in the Legislature.

In action Thursday, the House voted 91-64 to allow alcohol retailers to offer coupons that could be clipped from newspapers or broadcast on television.

That’s a departure from current law that bars businesses from placing ads citing specific discounts like $1 shots of tequila or half-price pitchers of beer..."

Read more at: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/half-price-pitchers-and-shots-could-be-advertised-under-bill/article_0725c056-8a92-50d7-9393-e175a11cded1.html