Thursday, March 04, 2004

Principals' association wants to prevent internet alcohol sales "for the children"

In the Detroit News, Jim Ballard, the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals decries the Detroit News' stance that Michigan's current ban on ordering wine over the internet and by other means from out-of-state sellers is wrong because of course, it might affect the youth.

Once again, its "for the children" so we ought to prevent adults from the better opportunities and choices that out of state wineries and other sellers of alcohol might provide.

Ballard states that School principals have a long history of trying to keep alcohol away from our students, and we are quick to oppose any means that makes alcohol more accessible.

Three out of 10 teenagers already participate in binge drinking. A National Academy of Sciences report also confirms that 10 percent of teenagers purchase alcohol over the Internet or through home delivery, and the growing use of the Internet only will increase that percentage. If the circuit court decision is not overturned, we are turning our backs on this already sizeable problem and allowing it to grow more.

Ballard is disengeniously using national statistics here, because of course, if any underage teen ordered alcohol over the Internet in Michigan they would be breaking the law.

Perhaps, as Executicve Director of Secondary School Principals, Mr. Ballard would be better off creating an education program to stress to the students in his care that underage drinking is not acceptable rather than attempt to keep adults from enjoying themselves.

As for Mr. Ballard's comment that "Face-to-face alcohol sales still are the best way to prevent underage drinking, and Michigan’s current alcohol distribution system is the best for Michigan and our youth. ". Mr. Ballard clearly underestimates the resourcefulness of the students in his charge.

The current system stiffles competition, is unconstitutionally protectionist, and is not the best possible system for Michigan. Let's not let the emotional cry of "for the children" uphold a bad law.

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