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Monday, 24th March 2008

The Five Dumbest Product Bans: An Overview of Regulatory Absurdity

The Five Dumbest Product Bans: An Overview of Regulatory Absurdity
Source: Competitive Enterprise Institute

By necessities of space and brevity, many delightfully absurd product bans remain unexplored here. The five bans selected are:

Sangria (Virginia) . The Commonwealth of Virginia bans most preparations of the popular fortified wine drink (typically red wine with brandy and fruit) even though the state not only allows drinking of substances with the same alcoholic composition as Sangria and actually operates stores that sell all of the alcoholic ingredients needed to make Sangria.

Playing Online Poker in a Legal Casino (U. S.). Although 48 states have legal gambling in some form (and several run casinos), the federal government has made it illegal to place bets online—even in jurisdictions that allow almost all other types of gambling.

The Cardio-Pump (U. S.). No one has ever contended that anybody could do harm using this American-designed device intended to help resuscitate heart attack victims, which may actually help save lives. Although it has found wide use in other countries, the Food and Drug Administration bans its use in the United States.

Wildflower Bouquets (Louisiana). Louisiana's unique-in-the nation florist licensing statute makes it illegal for anybody to arrange two or more types of flowers without passing a largely subjective state licensing exam. In theory, a child could face a fine for picking a bouquet of flowers and selling it at a roadside stand.

Feathers in provocative packaging (Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia). Ridiculously broad laws banning sexual toys in these states could serve to ban the sale of simple feathers if packaged with suggestions that they might be used for sexual purposes.

+ Full Report (PDF; 97 KB)


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