Prince George’s seeks to tighten rules for home delivery of liquor

June 28, 2011

The Prince George’s County liquor commission takes up a proposed set of rules Tuesday that aim to tighten controls on home delivery of wine, beer and liquor.

It has been legal since 1947 in Maryland to allow home delivery, according to the county’s liquor board Chairman Franklin D. Jackson, who spoke to the Prince George’s County Council in an appearance last week that was not listed on the public agenda. (Council President Ingrid Turner, D-Bowie, said she asked him to come by to talk to the council, ”as a point of personal privilege.”)

Now that Potomac Gourmet, a boutique food store in National Harbor, asked for permission to deliver alcohol, the liquor board decided it ought to reexamine its system, which until now has had no written rules for home delivery. Only a handful of stores in the county have been delivering liquor. It is a more common practice in the District.

The new rules, if adopted by the commission, would require that a deliverer be at least 18 (the drinking age is 21), and be trained in alcohol management practices. The rules would also require careful recordkeeping by the store doing the delivery so that liquor inspectors could be assured that the purchaser is at least 21.

It’s already against the rules to deliver to the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. The new rules would add Bowie State University to the forbidden list.

Lots of testimony is expected at Tuesday’s hearing, and it is unclear if the board will immediately adopt the rules after the hearing, or deliberate more. Permission to deliver will now cost the applicant $250, and a review by the commission. Previously, it was a freebie and the commission was supposed to give a letter of permission, but commission Chairman Franklin Jackson told the County Council last week that few, if any, letters had ever been given out.

Several council members raised questions about the whole notion of home delivery, suggesting that it might make it easier for underage drinking to take place.

Maryland recently began allowing mail-order wine delivery. Prince George’s also has drive-through liquor stores.

The five-person liquor board is responsible for enforcing liquor laws and giving out alcohol licenses in the county.

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