The North Carolina State Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission has lifted its prohibition against billboards for distilled spirits. That means that billboards for rum, tequila, vodka, gin, whiskey, and other distilled spirits are now permitted. The commission has long permitted billboards for beer and wine.
The action was taken because the prohibition was in violation of commercial free speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The ABC said that if sued, the state would spend substantial sums of money defending itself but would ultimately lose. Other states have been withdrawing their bans against liquor billboards for the same reason; North Carolina is the last to comply.
The commission’s administrator acknowledged that “alcohol is alcohol.” That is, standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits contain the same amount of alcohol --- six-tents of one ounce. They’re all the same to a Breathalyzer.
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