Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Does Republican Val Peterson know how to make wine?

Posted By on February 2, 2011, 3:33 PM

click to enlarge blog4990widea.jpg

Only in Utah? A bill in the Utah legislature would ban selling to minors the ingredients to make liquor as if they already were. It's unclear if that means grapes, yeast and potatoes will have to go behind a Zion curtain like wine, beer and vodka.---

Update: Feb. 3, 2010, 10 AM: Got a voicemail from Rep. Val Peterson on my phone this morning. In it, he said, "I definitely am not trying to stall the sale of grapes," he said. But, he acknowledges the language of the bill needs some work. "I am trying to narrow the bill down. It's really targeted toward drinks like Spike Your Juice (see below) and ... I'm working to limit the scope of the language."

First, caveats.

I suspect that Rep. Val L. Peterson, R-Orem, is intending to regulate the sale of products like those sold by the Beer Nut; you know, home-brew kits and what not. I sent him an e-mail, and I'll update when he responds. Until then, City Weekly staff writer Eric S. Peterson (no relation) wisely suggests that Rep. Peterson may be trying to regulate only stuff like Spike Your Juice, a product featured in KSL's "hey teens, here's a new way to get f-ed up" series back in November (see the bottom of the post).

Rep. Peterson may not be aware, however, that when Utah legalized home brewing in 2009, they simultaneously banned minors from the activity, making it a class B misdemeanor to home brew before you are 21. Jamie Burnham, manager at the Beer Nut, hadn't yet heard of Peterson's HB85, and didn't know what to make of the proposal to regulate the sales of ingredients of alcohol, which are common commodities, from potatoes and corn to agave and juniper berries.

But Petererson's bill goes after the retailers selling the products, not the conduct of the teens making alcohol.%uFFFD

Here's the language the bill proposes:

32B-4-403 Unlawful sale, offer for sale, or furnishing to minor.
(1) (a) A person may not sell, offer for sale, or furnish an alcoholic product to a minor.
(b) A person may not sell, offer for sale, or furnish a product to a minor that:

(i) contains, within packaging, such as a carton, case, or other wrapper, the ingredients necessary to:
(A) make an alcoholic product; or
(B) cause a liquid that is not an alcoholic product to become an alcoholic product; and
(ii) the person who sells, offers for sale, or furnishes the product knows can be used to:
(A) make an alcoholic product;
(B) cause a liquid that is not an alcoholic product to become an alcoholic product.

If the bill were implemented as written, the penalties would be class A or class B misdemeanors, just like for alcohol that's already alcohol.

A Zion curtain in the produce aisle seems unlikely, but this is Utah, where we still can't have "normal" beer in kegs, and thus no "normal" beer on tap at bars, only 3.2 draft and everything else in bottles. So you never can be too sure.

To check the bill's status or read the entire thing, go to http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/hbillhtm/hb0085.htm

And now, behold, another obscure, exotic product that causes intoxication that kids first learned about from KSL:

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Video Courtesy of KSL.com

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Jesse Fruhwirth

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