PLCB Ultimatum: Our Way or the Highway

With the PLCB, control is the name of the game—in more ways than one.

Not content with having both hands—retail and wholesale—in wine and liquor sales in the state, now, according to the PA Independent, the PLCB is reaching for free speech rights, as well.

Here we thought it was the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment that led to the PLCB’s formation—not the First.

Attorney Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, assistant counsel for the PLCB, wanted to write an article on Pennsylvania liquor law in a prestigious law journal. The article, as yet unwritten, planned to provide a better understanding of the state’s labyrinthine system of liquor laws and answer readers’ no doubt incredulous questions.

Despite the fact that Kennedy-Shaffer was undertaking the effort pro bono, the PLCB said “no go,” citing a conflict of interest. PLCB officials gave Kennedy-Shaffer a blunt ultimatum: stop trying to publish or resign. This echoes the choice Pennsylvania residents face every time they want to purchase alcohol: buy what the state selects, or nothing at all.

Thankfully, Alan Kennedy-Shaffer is standing up to the PLCB’s heavy hand, and he’s had success in reminding the over-bearing state government that freedom matters.

As privatization legislation is being crafted this week, the rest of us have the opportunity to do the same. Stand up and let your Senator know how you feel about full liquor privatization.