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Legalize lemonade: A good idea from Utah


When our American system of divided government is working well, each state gets to learn from the successes and failures of the other laboratories of democracy.

Lawmakers in Utah have legalized lemonade stands, letting minors run small, temporary businesses without a license. Such a law shouldn’t be necessary, but every so often overzealous government officials bring the weight of the regulatory state down on children trying to raise a few bucks.

In 2015, Austin, Texas, police broke up the illegal lemonade cartel being run by eight-year-old Andria Green and her seven-year-old sister, Zoey.

That same year, police in Bound Brook, New Jersey, stopped two teen boys from offering their services as snow shovelers before a big storm because they had not received a solicitation license.

Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill the next year to repeal that regulation.

The Institute for Justice, a law firm specializing in free market reforms, is pushing states to let children escape the heavy hand of government regulation.

Under the new Utah law, an individual under the age of 18 may operate an occasional business without a permit. Children can get some basic business experience and earn a few dollars.

Maybe it would be more realistic to force underage entrepreneurs to run the full gauntlet of state and local regulations. Maybe they would better appreciate the hoops that grown-ups have to jump through to earn a living.


Eric Church
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