Matthew Mann
April 22, 2009 | Compliance | Matthew Mann

Age Verification: Kansas Model The Right Step

Kansas became the most recent state to adopt sensible, verifiable direct wine shipment when Gov. Sebelius signed a law passed by the Kansas legislature that would permit Kansas residents to purchase up to 12 cases of wine per calendar year from out-of-state wineries who obtain a Special Order shipping license for only $50. The law takes effect on July 1st.

Of significance the law includes an age verification requirement that will assure that only adults can make a purchase and a tax bond requirement to assure the state that the licensed winery will remit the appropriate taxes. It is a win-win across the board and is a model of the type of shipping laws states can adopt to allow wineries to sell to customers in their state without undue restraints yet still provide the level of security and accountability desirable to prevent wine from falling into the hands of minors and for the payment of excise and sales taxes.

Age verification is a relatively new wrinkle in the laws being promulgated by states entering the world of direct shipment and I think it is a good idea. Age verification services now make it possible to efficiently verify a potential purchaser’s age online for a transaction fee of around 40 cents each. Yes, it creates an extra burden on wineries shipping to the state. But it also gives assurance to states considering opening themselves to direct shipment and is powerful ammunition against specious arguments that teenagers will be able to order wine online. As more states adopt age verification requirements it is reasonable to expect these transaction fees to come down as the volume of orders using the systems increase.

It’s all about making wine available in more states and to more consumers who want that access. Age verification is a tremendous use of technology to accomplish that goal.


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