Let's say you like wines from New Zealand, but the wines you want are from a producer whose wines are not available for sale in your state of residence.
The reason this happens is more than likely due to the importer not signing on a distributor in that state. So while the wine sits in another state, aging away in some warehouse, you don't have the opportunity to legally buy the wine you want. So despite customer interest and demand for the wine, the thirst has to be quenched by another wine that you settle for. Or, maybe you get lucky, and travel to the state where the wine is sold and are able to find it on some retailer's shelf, but failing that, for the most part, your access to wine is limited to where you are, and maybe who can ship and sell to where you are.
In principle, the US is a free market system, but when it comes to booze, it's not, mainly due to the way prohibition was repealed, which created the three-tiered system. And, that's the crux of the current case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Freedom to sell. Or really, it's a challenge to the limitation of choice due to the laws that were enacted almost 100 years ago. But since that time the world of product sales has changed.
What has changed are two key intertwined factors.
- Technology, expressly, the Internet.
- Logistics, specifically FedEx, UPS, and Amazon
When prohibition was repealed in the 1930s the nation wasn't as connected as it is today, and state's rights were fundamental.
So while we give states the rights to set laws under the Constitution, when it comes to shopping and products being available to our nation's citizens alcohol, and now cannabis, are only available based on what an individual state permits.
That needs to change.
Today a person in California can read a wine review from Boston. The wine available in Boston, may not be available in Calfornia, so the resident in California can contact a retailer in Boston and buy the wine. Not so in some other states, where the laws are such that retailers can't ship to them, while wineries can to some states.
It's silly, and it's time for liquor laws in the USA to change and be national in scope, not the way they are, where the big distributors through influence over legislation can decide who drinks what, based on where they are.