December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

A major pain from minor sales

Two Illinois liquor stores recently found themselves charged in neighboring Michigan for selling alcohol to a minor via the Internet. The stores, Sam’s Wine & Liquor of Chicago and Internet Wine and Spirits of Fairview Heights, were hit with misdemeanor counts of selling liquor to a minor, each punishable by 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Mark Smith, enforcement director for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, says Internet Wine and Spirits pleaded guilty to the charge, though he would not comment on the terms. The commission arranged for an 18-year-old to order liquor from the two stores’ Web sites. Both orders were delivered by United Parcel Service, and no one asked the teen for ID along the way.

Two federal bills concerning alcohol sales over the Web are pending. A Senate bill would allow states to charge companies delivering alcohol to minors in federal court, while a House measure would mandate clear marking of packages containing alcohol and require a 21-year-old to sign for the purchases.

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