“Make room for lemonade stands”

A new bill in the Maryland General Assembly would prohibit counties and cities from banning children’s lemonade stands when set up occasionally on private property. I submitted these perhaps somewhat tongue-in-cheek comments advising lawmakers to stop them young:

“Today’s breaker of low-level regulations is tomorrow’s breaker of more serious regulations. The ten year old who dabbles in lemonade selling today could become tomorrow’s bringer of a church potluck casserole prepared in a home kitchen rather than an inspected commercial facility. A few years later, accustomed to the ways of regulation-breaking, that same miscreant might use that same home kitchen to bake a dozen pies, plus one for good luck, to bring to a homeless shelter for Thanksgiving.

“The time to stop it is when it starts — on the June day when the first pitcher of lemonade is mixed and hawked to passersby for 50 cents, plus a tip if you get lucky. Stop them young, or they will get used to serving others and along the way learning to act and think for themselves.

“Does this all sound a little crazy and upside down? Well, it is. We should make it easier, not harder, for kids to be enterprising, well organized, and friendly, all lessons of the lemonade stand.”

More here [cross-posted from Cato at Liberty]


  • There is one legal principle that is the enemy of the lemonade stand, and causes laughable “cease and desist” letters, and causes the most ridiculous stories coming out of schools under zero tolerance policies. The principle that ties this all together is alleged “consistency” and the reverse side of the consistency coin, waiver. We have to go after the lemonade stands…..because if we don’t, how can we shut down an unregulated restaurant on Main Street? Under the consistency principle, you can’t treat x.1 different than x.2 because someone will sue your ass, usually on an imagined basis of racial or gender discrimination. The “consistency” principle does not itself comport with reason (“a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”) and should be replaced with “judgment.”

    • “Judgment” requires effort and, often, risk-taking. Neither is popular with bureaucrats.

  • I suspect most in the General Assembly will accept your first two paragraphs as dispositive, and assume that the third is satire.

    • Or maybe some idiotic legislator (but I repeat myself) will issue a press release lambasting the comments as the work of a typical free market advocate seeking to establish a lemonade monopoly and eliminate all human charitable inclinations by striking out at our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

      • More likely, they let this pass . . . . but continue the intrusiveness.

        Exit question–let’s say they pass this law, and some cop orders the lemonade stand to be closed, could the cop be prosecuted? That’s the question.