Wholesalers applaud legislation to crack down on illegal beer and wine shipments

Public Act 87 increases penalties, brings them in line with illegally shipped spirits

The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association  applauds the legislature for passing, and Gov. Rick Snyder for signing into law, House Bill 4557. The legislation will increase penalties for illegally shipping beer or wine into the state, and bring those penalties in line with the penalties for illegally shipping spirits.

This legislation passed the Michigan Senate in late June and the House in May by overwhelming margins and with strong, bipartisan support, and was signed into law in mid-July. It makes illegally shipping large amounts of wine or beer into the state punishable by a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000, along with the possibility of four years in jail depending on the amount shipped.

 “We applaud Gov. Snyder for swiftly signing this important legislation into law,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. “Illegal shipments of beer and wine have deprived the state of millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue. By establishing these stricter penalties we can ensure everyone is playing by the rules.”

A comprehensive study conducted in 2015 by the Hill Group found an estimated $64 million worth of wine is purchased from third parties and shipped illegally into the state every year.

In January, Gov. Snyder signed Public Act 520 into law, which gave the state additional tools to monitor shipments of wine and beer into the state. This law requires common carriers, such as FedEx and UPS, to report to the state what was shipped and where it was purchased. This reporting will allow for better tracking of illegal alcohol shipments into the state and allow Michigan’s attorney general to identify the bad actors.

“These laws create the framework and necessary fines to end illegal alcohol shipments into the state,” said Nevins. “This common-sense legislation, coupled with the law giving the state additional tools to monitor shipments of wine and beer into the state, will create the framework and necessary fines to end illegal alcohol shipments into the state.”

For more information about the Beer and Wine Wholesalers, visit www.mbwwa.org, and to read the bill, go to https://www.legislature.mi.gov and enter HB?4557 in the search box.

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