Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced his support of state laws that allow wine producers to ship their products directly to consumers in states that also allow the practice.
The announcement comes after Myers joined 35 other state attorneys general in an amicus, "friend of the court", brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Federal Court of Appeals decision striking down Michigan's ban on direct-to-consumer shipment of wine by out-of-state wineries.
In joining the brief, Myers said he was not expressing support for Michigan's ban on direct shipment of wine as a policy choice. Instead, Oregon joined the brief to support Michigan's effort to obtain Supreme Court clarification of the scope of state authority to regulate shipment of alcoholic beverages into a state.
"The issue of state authority over shipment of alcoholic beverages has produced sharply differing decisions among the federal Courts of Appeals," Myers said. "I believe it is highly important to have Supreme Court resolution of that issue to end uncertainty and confusion, and to provide an interpretation of authority under the U.S. Constitution that applies consistently to all states.
"In seeking that needed clarification, I also support a ruling that accords states maximum authority to decide their policy choice as to direct shipment. I want first to ensure that the policy choice Oregon has made is not endangered. By joining the amicus brief, I am not endorsing or supporting the restrictive policy choice of Michigan, but only Michigan's authority to make that choice."
"Direct shipment is a critical component in ensuring and increasing the vitality of Oregon's thriving wine industry," Myers said. "We hope the policy of our state is one an increasing number of states will adopt."
Oregon is among 13 states that have enacted "reciprocity" laws that permit direct shipment of wine to consumers in other states, but only to those states that similarly permit such a practice.
In Oregon, consumers may purchase up to two cases a month from any of the participating reciprocal states.
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002