Deer hunting season is winding down in Pennsylvania, so I’ll be spending the remainder of my week out in the woods (I’m pretty excited about that.) However you plan to spend the remainder of your week, make sure to stop by Lions of Liberty to start each day by reading The Morning Roar!
Breweries Sue Texas In State District Court
If you’ve listened to any episodes of the feature Libertarians In Living Rooms Drinking Liquor on the Lions of Liberty podcast, then you’re well aware that we enjoy partaking in the consumption of alcoholic beverages from time to time. It should come as no surprise that the choice for today’s lead story in The Morning Roar highlights friction between coercive government and beer brewers.
When most people think of Texas they imagine a largely free market environment where the government sits back and allows private business to prosper. This is certainly the case in some industries, but the alcohol industry does not enjoy these freedoms. Like many other states, Texas regulates the distribution of alcoholic beverages by way of the “three-tier” system. Under this system, producers, distributors, and retailers must operate independently form one another. Businesses cannot share ownership interest in different aspects of the supply chain and are not allowed to coordinate activities.
A brewery is free to operate without contracting with a distributor, if they produce less than 125,000 barrels of beer per year. But if a brewery produces more than that number of barrels, then they must use distributors for everything.
Once a brewer selects a distributor for a given territory, that distributor will be the only source of beer in the territory for the brewery. The distributor is free to sell the rights to another distributor, but the brewery has almost no ability to revoke their original agreement with the distributor.
Previously, mass-marketed giants like Budweiser and Coors were kings of the beer world. Life was simple for distributors. They didn’t need to worry about acquiring new territorial rights. Distributors could sit back and rake in the cash. The rise of craft breweries throughout the state has had a destabilizing impact on distributors’ territory portfolios.
Rather than adapt to innovation in the brewing market, distributors pushed for legislation to tip the scales back in their favor and they got their wish. In 2013, Texas passed a law that prohibits brewers form negotiating with distributors for the value of their territorial rights. Brewers are now coercively forced to give those rights away for free. Distributors are then allowed to turn around and sell those rights to another distributor, but if a brewery sells their territorial rights, it can lose its license to produce alcohol.
The new law has clouded the future of the craft beer movement in Texas. The benefits associated with expanding operations to exceed 125,000 barrels and reach more markets have been crushed. It has made it more difficult for smaller breweries to grow and expand their distribution footprint. Small breweries have decided to attack this blatant cronyism head on by suing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Live Oak, Revolver and Peticolas Brewing have brought a constitutional challenge in Texas state district court in Travis County (Austin). Specifically, they claim that Texas cannot force them to give away their territorial rights—a part of their business—for free to distributors. They bring two claims: a takings claim under Article I, Section 17 of the Texas Constitution,[xii] which protects private property rights; and a substantive due process claim under Article I, Section 19 of the Texas Constitution, which protects economic liberty—the right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable government interference.
This case is about property, which can be more than a house or building. Property also includes valuable intangibles like a brand or the right to sell a product. In this case, the brewers claim that the Texas Constitution’s Takings Clause prohibits the government from unconstitutionally requiring them to give away their property as a condition of keeping their licenses to produce alcohol and stay in business. The government has no legitimate interest in requiring craft brewers to give distributors something that those distributors did not build.
Imagine a world where a coercive government was not able to dictate how a supply chain operates. In this magic free market fantasy land, perhaps a brewer could contract with many distributors in the same territory and choose the one or many that best fit their needs.
In a free market, an ambitious individual or company could decide to purchase all aspects of the supply chain (known as vertical integration) and bring delicious alcoholic beverage to the consumer at the lowest possible cost. Oh the possibilities are endless in the world where coercive governments are illegal!
Spending Bill Blocks D.C. Pot Legalization
Let’s transition from a cronyized (did I just make that word up?…possibly) market to one that is working to end a decades long prohibition and achieving some success. The marijuana market has seen some coercively enforced barriers knocked down with recent passage of ballot initiatives to legalize or decriminalize marijuana in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC. Unfortunately, some members of Congress are working to include legislation in the new spending deal that would block pot legalization in Washington DC.
By midday Tuesday, it appeared negotiators had found middle ground to legalize possession of marijuana but to allow no further action by D.C. officials to create a regulatry system for legal sales and taxation of the plant.
But many warned that the partial constraints might prove to be a worse outcome, potentially leading to chaos for lawmakers and police officers trying to rewrite and enforce city drug laws.
The ballot measure was written to allow for possession of up to two ounces of pot and home cultivation of up to three mature cannabis plants. It left up to city lawmakers the accompanying regulatory structure for how to legally sell and tax the plant.
Under a spending “rider” included in the 1,600-page bill distributed late Tuesday, neither part would be allowed.
The language could also roll back a law passed by the D.C. Council and signed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) in the spring to join 18 states that have eliminated criminal penalties for marijuana possession.
D.C. now issues a $25 citation for marijuana possession, but under Monday night’s vote, the penalty may revert to one of greater severity.
Why are elected officials always so far behind the people? The majority of citizens are against throwing non-violent individuals in jail for smoking a joint or growing a plant. Why do Republican politicians continue to cling to marijuana prohibition? Are they being paid off by Mexican drug cartels?
Cheney: CIA Report “Full Of Crap”
How is Dick Cheney still alive? Didn’t he live without a heart for an extended period of time?
Maybe a better question is: Why is anyone with a brain still listening to Dick Cheney? He was the architect of the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that led to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians.
Now, he has the gall to defend the horrifying tactics utilized by the CIA. Thankfully these tactics have been shown the light of day thanks to the release of a report released by Senate Democrats. But instead of crawling in a hole and hiding, Dick Cheney is actually defending the heinous acts that he set in motion. This man should be tried for war crimes and locked in a jail cell for the rest of his life. He should not be provided the opportunity to defend his atrocities on cable news shows.
Check out the video below from the despicable Dick Cheney.
Read The Morning Roar every weekday Monday-Friday!
Receive access to ALL of our EXCLUSIVE bonus audio content – including “Conspiracy Corner”, “Degenerate Gamblers” and the “League of Liberty Podcast” by joining the Lions of Liberty Pride and supporting us on Patreon!