Permits in Everything

by Conor Friedersdorf

Tampa Bay Online reports:

HAVERFORD, Pa. (AP) -- Seven suburban Philadelphia children had a brush with the law for selling without a permit - selling lemonade, that is. But police say it was all a misunderstanding. A neighbor called Haverford Township police July 10 about the sales. He says the youngsters were going door-to-door and he didn't think they were being properly supervised.

A responding officer told the kids they were violating an ordinance that bans sales without a permit.

But Deputy Chief John Viola says the officer didn't know the law doesn't apply to anyone under 16 years old.

That caveat -- let's call it the lemonade stand exception -- improves on the norm in many cities, hopefully affording young people an opportunity to experiment with entrepreneurship without running afoul of the law. But it also lays bare how unnecessary permitting laws are. After all, it isn't as though stuff sold by kids is safer or of higher quality than stuff sold by adults. Absent the heavy hand of the state I might already have tried selling mango lassi on the street in Washington DC. Unfortunately, its residents are missing out on a tasty, refreshing beverage instead. Maybe I should move to Haverford and hire an underage sales force...
(Hat tip Riehl World View)