Attorney General calls on web-based platforms to crack down on illegal alcohol sales

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Hunter has sent a letter that calls on the websites Facebook, Craigslist and eBay to take more proactive measures to eliminate illegal online alcohol sales.

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The letter was part of a multi-state, bipartisan, coalition of 46 attorneys general who are asking the companies to review current postings for online alcohol sales, remove illegal postings and develop programming to block and prevent users from violating state laws.

“This isn’t just about violating state laws, it’s about protecting the health and wellbeing of Oklahomans,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Illegally sold alcohol thwarts state licensing laws that ensure the substances aren’t tainted and are coming from a reputable vendor. The substances being sold illegally could originate anywhere and could contain deadly substances, like methanol. As we work with Facebook, Craigslist and eBay to crack down on this issue, I am encouraging Oklahomans to use extreme caution when purchasing alcohol online.”

In the letter, the group of attorneys general note alcohol sold online may not only contain substances that pose health risks, but also the sales platforms may lack necessary safeguards to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors.

The attorneys general also invite the online companies to join them in establishing a working group with stakeholders from the industry and government. The goal of the group would be to discuss and establish protocols for internet platforms and content providers related to illegal and unlicensed alcohol sales.   

Except for wine, alcohol cannot be purchased online or shipped in Oklahoma. Additionally, permits from the Oklahoma ABLE Commission are required for making direct to consumer and online sales. Applicants seeking a shipping permit must also submit proof of licensing, as well as other documents, to prove the legitimacy of their business.    

According to the ABLE Commission’s direct wine shipper’s application, the permit allows a winery to ship up to six, nine-liter cases of wine annually directly to an Oklahoma resident who is 21-years-old or older. The wine must be for personal use and not for resale. No resident is permitted to purchase more than 30, nine-liter cases of wine per year.

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