Paxton calls for tech firms to control illegal alcohol sales

A drink at a bar

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today joined a bipartisan coalition of 47 state and territory Attorneys General, led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Maine Attorney General Aaron M. Frey, in calling on Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay to take proactive measures against alcohol sales on their platforms, which frequently violate state laws.  

“My office is dedicated to protecting Texas consumers and will take the necessary steps to ensure that all alcohol sales in our state are both safe and legal,” Attorney General Paxton said. “This letter seeks help from private companies to shut down an illegal market that harms children and consumers by disrupting state laws and regulations that govern the responsible sale and use of alcohol.”   

In the letter, the Attorneys General note that the 21st Amendment invests the right to regulate the sale of alcohol to each state, and points out concerns that unlicensed, unregulated, and untaxed alcohol sales are taking place on digital platforms. These platforms lack necessary safeguards to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors, and some of the products sold on this platform may be counterfeit or tainted. Consumers may not know that this method of alcohol sales is illegitimate, or that these black-market products could pose health risks. 

The letter asks Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay to take the following specific actions:  

Review the current content posted to the companies’ websites and remove illegal postings for the sales and/or transfer of alcohol products. 

Develop and deploy programming to block and prevent your platform users from violating state law by posting content for the sale and distribution of alcohol products on their websites.

The Attorneys General also invited the companies to join them to form a working group with stakeholders from government and industry to further explore how to establish practical and effective protocols for preventing illegal alcohol sales. 

(Photo: Shutterstock By aekachai lungmin)

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