Friday, February 20, 2009

Free Wine for Lobbying

A group advocating for liberalization of Maryland's archaic restrictions on beer and wine imports is trying a new tactic: giving away expensive wine to whoever can bring the most people to testify at a hearing on their bill. Just be sure to drink it after you testify! Following is the blast email from Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws.

To: X
Subject: Free Bottle of '03 Opus One on 2/23?
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 11:48:28 +0000

Dear [X],

Our opposition, the wholesalers and select retailers, would like you to believe that massive underage drinking will occur if SB338 and HB1262 will occur. Every minor from Ocean City to Deep Creek will be ordering Boon's Farm - I kid you not, one retailer actually brought in a bottle to the senate hearing on Wednesday - to be delivered to their door, and the unwitting FedEx or UPS drivers will gladly turn it over to them. The Chancellor for the University of Maryland actually wrote in a letter expressing his concern that their students could have over-21 resident advisors sign for their packages. If the retailers are so good at checking ID, then why were there 130 underage drinking violations in Anne Arundel County in 2007 and none reported via direct shipment in the 35 states that allow it? Oh yeah, and Senator Raskin pointed out that those states cover 80% of our ~300 million citizens.

To deal with this ludicrousness, I am offering a bottle of '03 Mondavi Opus One (value: ~$200) to whomever brings the most friends to the House of Delegates hearing on Monday 2/23 (must be 5 or greater including you in your party). Here are the specifics:

Monday, February 23rd
Economic Matters Committee (ECM)
Room 231, House Office Building
6 Bladen St.
Annapolis, MD 21401

The Committee will be hearing 47 bills that day, so you must register in advance with Delegate Tom Hucker's office (, 301-858-3474) to appear on the docket. Please let Maria Topper there know your cell number as the bill itself will most likely not be heard until 3PM or later so she can be in touch with you about timing. I will plan to be there in person, and whomever shows up with the most friends will win the bottle of wine. We spent a lot of time talking about why we want the bill to pass at the MD Senate hearing but would better like to coordinate our testimony at this one. Once you let Maria know your and your friends' information, I can be in touch with you individually about the testimony.

Please let me know if you have any questions and make sure to send as many of your friends to our Facebook page as possible:

Lastly, we have received some generous donations thus far but are always in search of more. As the fight seems so close, we need additional resources to get out the consumer voice, so please consider sending a few bucks our way:

Hope to see you there!


Executive Director
Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws
4315 Underwood Road
Baltimore, MD 21218
Tel: (443) 570-8102