Saturday, February 27, 2010

Commission Says: "Regulate, Don't Ban Everclear"

In my post Everclear and Present Danger I wrote that the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission was mulling over whether to ban or increase regulations on the sale of highly concentrated alcohol (HCA), such as Everclear, after a Drake University student was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning from overindulging on it. Thursday the commission announced its recommendations. Although they did not recommend an outright ban on HCA, their recommendations can hardly be seen as a victory for those who support freedom of choice for Iowa consumers.

IABC's website lists the commission's four recommendations as follows:

  1. Limit products over 100 proof to one listed size [750 ml for Everclear]
  2. Look into drafting a rule to require registration (similar to pseudoephedrine) for products over 100 proof
  3. Education - investigate opportunities for education on HCA in college communities, as well as design educational materials to be applied to bottles for distribution.
  4. Limit products to no higher than 151 proof

Since the recommendations all increase government regulation, no doubt they will be pencil-whipped through and adopted quickly. (In contrast, any deregulation would require an uphill, tooth and nail battle.)

Supporters of regulating Everclear and other HCA's no doubt would argue that the state has a compelling interest in doing so since the state often has to assist those who injure themselves or others or ruin their own lives abusing the stuff. That is another perfect example of how government "assistance" always begets government intrusion into our lives. (In order to get rid of the intrusion, we must get rid of the assistance as well.)

Another troubling aspect of such regulation, if we follow the government's logic to its ultimate conclusion: If the state of Iowa can't trust its adult citizens with such a mundane decision as what size bottle of booze to buy, how can they trust us with self-governance, arms bearing, child rearing or any other activity upon which a free society depends?

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