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HUNTER ESTES — Is government stopping you from getting your bottle of wine?

Hunter Estes

Mississippi’s laws that limit who can sell alcohol and where you can purchase it need to be modernized.

Let me paint a picture with a short story: The year is 2020, on a sunny day you decide to stop by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a bottle of your favorite wine. Unfortunately for you, Mississippi grocery stores aren’t legally allowed to carry wine.

No worries, you decide to drive across the county line (because your county bans the sale of liquor) to the liquor store and grab the bottle there. Unfortunately for you, every liquor store in the state is forced to go through the one government distributor for alcohol that exists in all of Mississippi, and their warehouse didn’t order enough of your brand this month.

No worries, you’re willing to wait for a few days, so you go home to order the bottle online and have it shipped to you. Unfortunately for you, the state of Mississippi is one of a slim handful of states that legally bans the shipment of wine into the state.

Thus, in the year 2020, in an age where people around the world are connected digitally in unprecedented ways, in a time that you can order a ride, groceries, fast food, and almost everything at the click of a digital button and have it in minutes, you can’t even get a bottle of wine you like.

What is the reason for this?

Look no further than the tyrannical imposition of government into affairs that it has no right to be involved in. The common denominator throughout this series of beverage procurement failures is the over-restrictive nature of our state apparatus. Prohibition is alive and well in Mississippi, because the government controls our intake of alcoholic beverages at a rate unparalleled in the rest of the country.

What good reason is there to stop grocery stores from selling wine? Why can’t we have private alcohol distributors? Why does all liquor and wine need to be run through a single government-run warehouse in Madison? Why can’t I ship wine to my door like almost every other citizen in the country?

If you’re asking these questions like me, then you’re also probably frustrated. Apparently our state leaders think that they can run our lives better than we can. It is important to recognize that the tools of excessive regulation are not implemented solely to control alcohol. Our government has created a vast web of intrusive regulatory policies which limit the supply and impact the sellers in a variety of industries, including healthcare, food sales, and even children’s lemonade stands.

It’s worth recognizing just how much of our inflated prices and our slim range of choices is nothing more than a product of government control. Frustrating, isn’t it?

» Hunter Estes is the Development Manager for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy.

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