The Government War on Lemonade Stands, Mapped (Plus One)

The Freedom Center of Missouri has created a map showing the location of government-mandated closures of lemonade stands since 1990 (hat tip: Carpe Diem).

The map is excellent, but is missing a 2003 Minnesota incident in which 7-year-old Mikaela Ziegler’s lemonade stand was shut down by the city of St. Paul. The National Center for Public Policy Research covered this in the 2007 edition of our book “Shattered Dreams” (free PDF version available here), and reprinted the story in the National Center’s blog in 2007.

Here’s the story as it appeared in the blog four years ago:

The St. Paul, Minnesota government shut down a seven-year old’s lemonade stand because she did not hold a $60 state beverage license.

Seven-Year-Old’s Lemonade Stand Shut Down by Government Regulators

If an entrepreneurial child in St. Paul, Minnesota wants to set up a lemonade stand, he or she must first learn about the costly and overbearing world of government regulation. That’s because before serving the first customer, the child will need to obtain a $60 license to sell beverages. That’s what seven-year-old Mikaela Ziegler found out after the city’s Office of Licenses, Inspections and Environmental Protection shut down her refreshment stand.

fresh_honey_lemonade-[Credit---NASA]-764660On August 27, 2003, Mikaela was in her fourth day of selling packaged lemonade, orange juice, water and soda pop. A woman identifying herself as a city inspector approached her stand and told her, “You can’t sell pop without a license.”

Mikaela was considered to be in violation of St. Paul’s Legislative Code Chapter 331A.04(d)(24), which mandates a license for “a temporary establishment where food sales shall be restricted to pre-packaged nonpotentially hazardous foods or canned or bottled nonalcoholic beverages; operating no more than fourteen (14) days annually at any one location.” Although no one had complained about Mikaela’s stand, Licensing Director Janeen Rosas cited complaints about unlicensed vendors operating at the nearby state fair.

Mikaela’s father, Richard, calls the situation “laughable” and “tragic.” He rhetorically asked the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Is there anything sacred anymore? We’re not running a business here. This is fun and games for kids. I think [Mikaela] netted, after paying me, a whole $13.”

Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (August 29, 2003)

**Read this story and 99 other all-new outrageous stories of government regulatory abuse in the new fifth edition of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s book, Shattered Dreams: One Hundred Stories of Government Abuse.

Download your free PDF copy today here or purchase a print copy online here.**

Since the Freedom Center of Missouri kindly invites the public to send in examples of lemonade stand closures, I’ll send them a link to this post. I hope the Freedom Center’s map gets significant coverage, as it important for the public to send a message to lawmakers and regulators that the public expects them to use a light hand when regulating our lives and businesses.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.