US Marijuana Party

Thursday, December 16, 2004

State Sanctioned Whiskey Maker Runs Afoul of the Law

Conecuh Ridge Whiskey Posted by Hello

Official state booze always a bad idea

The idea of Alabama designating an official state booze was ludicrous from the start. Now those legislators who pushed the designation through have even more reason to be ashamed.

The maker of Conecuh Ridge whiskey, named by the Legislature as the official state whiskey earlier this year, has been charged with selling liquor to a minor, possessing excess liquor in a dry county, and selling liquor without a license.

We hate to say we told you so, but at the time the Legislature was considering this bad legislation we warned the state may soon have a "hangover from the consequences of this unwise indulgence."

It was a bad idea to grant an official designation to any commercial product, but it was downright stupid to do it for an alcoholic beverage. While legal, booze is a major contributing factor to a lot of social ills. And this booze isn't even made in Alabama.

Gov. Bob Riley, to his credit, vetoed the resolution, but the House and Senate overrode the veto. Among those voting to override was Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, who represents the district where the company is located. We hope he and every other legislator who voted against the veto are suitably chastised. That is especially true of Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, the sponsor of the resolution and a stockholder in the company (who should not have been involved for that reason alone.)

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has suspended the company's license to bring the state's official booze into Alabama. How ironic is that? The board plans to file administrative charges to block future sales in Alabama.

The ABC Board should follow through with tough action against the company, and we urge legislators to not make matters worse by trying to use political influence on behalf of politically connected company officials. And canceling the designation should be the first order of business for the Legislature in its February session.

Earlier this year we wondered what would follow "in the wake of this shortsighted action" naming an official state booze. One result should be a lot of deservedly red-faced legislators.

I remember when this was being hotly debated in the House and Senate in Montgomery. I actually agreed with Riley's veto of the proposal. 1,183 Alabama citizens are sent to prison every year for felony D.U.I. at a cost of over $10 million to Alabama taxpayers. I wondered at the time this passed if the people caught driving drunk would get time served because they were drinking Conecuh Ridge is the Official whiskey of Alabama after all.


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