In Arizona, It’s Illegal to Hold Potlucks at Home

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Updated, May 17, 2016: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill.

A new bill would fully legalize pot(lucks) in Arizona.

Under Arizona law, potlucks and other “noncommercial social events,” are exempt from food safety regulations and health department inspections, but only if they occur “at a workplace.” So that exception does not extend to hosting potlucks at a home or church, rendering them against the law.

Exploiting this loophole, officials in Pinal County have actually cracked down on potlucks held at a mobile home park in Apache Junction. “It seemed extremely petty,” Rep. Kelly Townsend said at a committee hearing last week.  “People’s rights are being infringed.”

Determined to undo this criminalization of casserole, Rep. Townsend has introduced a new bill, HB 2341, that would let Arizonians host potlucks freely, regardless if they are at work or not. Her bill appears to have legs: It passed a House committee unanimously last week.

Unfortunately, Arizona’s potluck ban is far from the only bizarre food regulation on the books. Last month, the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s ban on selling home-baked goods. (You can learn more about the case in the video below.) In the Badger State, those selling homemade cakes or cookies could face up to six months in jail. In December, a federal appeals court upheld an Indiana law that allowed liquor stores to sell cold beer, but not drug, grocery and convenience stores.

 

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