Vice Squad
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Three Quick Alcohol-Related Items

(1) "French may classify wine as food, not alcohol" -- This will allow the circumvention of controls on alcohol advertisements. The short linked article also notes the drastic decline in wine consumption in France: "Forty years ago, the average French consumer drank 134 bottles of wine a year, compared to only 77 today."

(2) Slovak towns must adjust to life after alcohol, tobacco taxes. It isn't that their residents have stopped consuming these vicious goods; rather, Slovakia's entry into the EU, it seems, precludes municipalities from imposing their own taxes on these items.

(3) The Alaskan village of Togiak has an alcohol-sniffing dog named Rex. Alcohol sales and imports have been prohibited in Togiak for twenty years, but some folks still try to smuggle in the contraband to resell to some of the 825 villagers. Liquor apparently sells at a huge markup thanks to the ban, with a bottle costing $10 in Anchorage going for some $150. Wow. The town has a drug-sniffing dog, too. Actually, three police dogs (the third is for search-and-rescue, and was thrown in for free by the Huntsville, Alabama supplier) but only two human officers. The police chief "originally hoped to use the same dog to sniff out alcohol and drugs but was cautioned that, for legal reasons surrounding search and seizure laws, a dog shouldn't be trained for both." It does sound as if the police in Togiak are more attentive to legal niceties than are many of their brethren in the drug prohibition world: "Random searches of incoming bags and mail are unconstitutional, so he [the police chief] can't search every bag. And if he finds something suspicious and Rex indicates signs of booze, the person must consent to a search or the city needs a search warrant."

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