Wacky Law Roundup

Two legal oddities that have crossed my path recently:

1) From the ‘Looking Busy’ Department: Lawmakers across the country are scrambling to enact laws that would make it appear they are addressing the methamphetamine problem across the country. These laws would restrict consumer access to psuedophedrine containing products (like Sudafed) in a variety of inconvenient and useless ways: taking them out of groceries and small 7-11 like markets, placing them behind a pharmacist’s counter, requiring state ID to purchase, etc. These laws cheerfully ignore the fact that (according to the Times article) over 80% of meth is not produced from psuedophedrine containing retail products in the states, but instead smuggled in from Mexico or produced from purer bulk supplies purchased from chemical suppliers. Soon, your late-night run for cold medicine will be another casualty in the War on Drugs- and it’s unlikely that major meth producers will ever even notice.

2) Price Speculation: Legal Here, Not There:Like seemingly everyone around the country, my wife and I spent a good deal of fruitless time in the past couple days trying to get tickets for U2’s upcoming tour. Battling with Ticketmaster’s website got me looking into scalping laws, which turned up this article from the journal of the Cato Institute. It provides a good look at why venues and producers fight so hard against scalping, and why most of the enacted laws are useless, unevenly enforced (and this ripe for unfair or prejudicial enforcement), and fighting against market pressures. No one likes paying several times face value for scalped tickets; on the other hand the existing distribution system for nation-wide ticket sales is clearly riddled with inefficiencies and graft. We’ll probably end up paying a scalper for tickets, but it will likely be a much more pleasant experience than dealing with the official channels.


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