Mississippi has a problem with underage drinking. Statistics and anecdotal evidence bear out this assertion. It has been proven far too easy for minors to purchase beer, and to a lesser extent other alcohol beverages, in our state. But illegal beer purchases seem to be the most prevalent problem.
The Mississippi State Tax Commission has an idea that might help stem the tide of underage beer sales to minors.
Right now, violators are fined if they sell beer to minors and are caught. Ed Buelow, who heads the tax commission, thinks that his agency should have the authority to revoke a beer license when a business is caught making underage sales. Such a move would be a stronger deterrent than a rather small fine.
We think Buelow’s idea is worth pursuing. Businesses selling beer have a responsibility to their communities to encourage responsible drinking. It is unfortunate that too many of these businesses shirk their responsibilities to sell a few extra six packs or dollar drafts.
We’re hesitant to expand any state agency’s authority, but as an answer to this statewide problem, such a move makes sense.