SAN MATEO (CBS SF) – Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) has revived a proposal allowing for alcohol shipments through the U.S. Postal Service, which would end one of the last vestiges of the Prohibition era.
Speier, along with Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) and Sen. Jeff Merkeley (D-Oregon) introduced the bipartisan measure, known as the “USPS Shipping Equity Act” on Monday.READ MORE: California Drought: Healdsburg Bans Sprinklers; Sets Personal Water Use To 74 Gallons A Day
“The time is long overdue for Congress to lift this Prohibition-era ban for the benefit of beverage manufacturers, consumers, and our struggling postal service,” Speier said in a statement.
The measure would allow the Postal Service to ship alcohol directly from licensed producers and retailers to consumers 21 and older. If approved, the USPS would have two years to develop regulations and implement the law.
In most states, private carriers including FedEx and UPS ship alcohol, which Speier said put the Postal Service at a disadvantage. If approved, the measure could result in tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for the agency.READ MORE: 3-Alarm Fire Burns 2 Buildings at West Oakland Recycling Center
“The shipping of alcohol would not only be a source of $50 million a year in revenue for the Postal Service, but would also help grow local breweries, distilleries, and wineries,” said Paul Hogrogian, national president of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.
Speier also noted the potential benefits to the state’s wine business. “In 2019, California wineries shipped 275.6 million cases of wine, yet consumers and manufacturers are prohibited from using the U.S. Postal Service to ship or deliver these everyday products,” the representative said.
In 1909, Congress banned the Postal Service from delivering “all spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented, or other intoxicating liquors of any kind” at the height of the Temperance Movement, which was behind Prohibition.
The 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol, went into effect in 1920 and was repealed 13 years later.MORE NEWS: Update: One Killed, Two Injured When Truck Crashes Into Diners at San Jose Sports Bar
The current measure is backed by the American Postal Workers Union, along with groups representing the alcohol industry including the American Craft Spirits Association, Brewers Association and Distilled Spirits Council.