Attorney General Alan Wilson Joins Bi-Partisan Coalition of Attorneys General Raising Concerns About Illegal Online Alcohol Sales

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – Oct. 22, 2019 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson today joined a bipartisan coalition of 46 state and territory Attorneys General, led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Maine Attorney General Aaron M. Frey, in calling on Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay to take proactive measures against alcohol sales on their platforms which frequently violate state laws.

“The Constitution gives each state broad authority to enforce its own laws concerning the sale of alcohol. Whether in person or online, the law is the law in South Carolina and will be enforced,” Attorney General Wilson said.

In the letter, the Attorneys General note that the 21st Amendment invests the right to regulate the sale of alcohol to each state, and points out concerns that unlicensed, unregulated, and untaxed alcohol sales are taking place on digital platforms. Some of the products sold on this platform may be counterfeit or tainted, sometimes with harmful health effects. The consumer may not know that this method of alcohol sales is illegitimate, or that these black-market products could pose health risks.

“We believe that everyone has an ethical and moral responsibility to protect consumers, especially those who are most vulnerable to fraud,” write the Attorneys General. “Self-regulation and self-policing

to prevent illegal and unfair trade practices and ensure consumer safety are minimum responsibilities for your respective companies. You have the technical prowess and power to accomplish basic protections against illegal sales.”

The letter asks Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay to take the following specific actions:

  • Review the current content posted to the companies’ websites and remove illegal postings for the sales and/or transfer of alcohol products.
  • Develop and deploy programming to block and prevent your platform users from violating state law by posting content for the sale and distribution of alcohol products on their websites.

The Attorneys General also invited the companies to join with them to form a working group with stakeholders from government and industry to further explore how to establish practical and effective protocols for preventing illegal alcohol sales.

In signing the letter, Attorney General Wilson joins the attorneys general of Louisiana, Maine, Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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