Thursday, April 28, 2005


New Mexico prohibits home delivery of alcoholic beverages. There is a safety factor; fear of robbery of the driver. There is concern that the driver will leave the beverage with underage persons. And we may suspect that economics has something to do with it, as the bars and saloons would do less business if Joe Sixpack could call for a home delivery when he runs out of beer. We should re-examine this rule, and see if we can have safe home delivery of alcoholic beverages. We should ask ourselves whether home delivery of alocholic beverages would be a good thing if it could be done with safety to the driver, and with security that the alcohol would go to those allowed by law to have it.

At first blush, this also sounds like a bad idea, a proliferation or expansion of the problem of drunkenness and DWI. However, we must consider the real world here. Joe Sixpack is allowed to drink, and to get drunk under certain circumstances (home alone, for example). Joe is also allowed to sit at a bar stool and drink, but he is not supposed to get drunk there, nor is he supposed to imbibe there to the extent that (if he is driving) he becomes impaired for driving.

Assume that Joe Sixpack is home alone and has been drinking, to the extent that he is impaired for driving. He is able to function well around the house, and wants more beer. What is he supposed to do? He should perhaps be able to call the neighborhood Walgreens store and ask that they drop by with a case of cold beer, giving his credit card number, or merely his name and account number if credit has been established [at present we cannot buy alcoholic beverages on credit]; and within 30 minutes, the delivery is here. Why not? Do you want Joe to get in his pickup and drive to Walgreen's?

Jane Sixpack is a secret vodka drinker, and her husband is at work. She is at home, but has run out of vodka. She is impaired, but not drunk, so that she could walk into the liquor department of Walgreens and buy a half gallon. How does she get there? Best way is to drive her own vehicle. Do you want your family to be on the road between her house and the liquor store? If we change the law, she can call Walgreens for a home delivery of the beverage, and pay the driver with credit card, or cash, or even check. Why not?

Aside from the economics of the matter, that is, the interests of the liquor dealers and bar owners, there is no good reason to prohibit home delivery. There is danger of persons not entitled to have the alcohol getting it by the home delivery method, but that danger is offset by the overall benefits of home delivery.

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