Consumer Goods/Lifestyle

COVID-19 and craft beer: Normally only 12 states allow delivery of all alcohol. Why is that?

COVID-19 has exposed many holes in America’s state alcohol laws. Maryland just suspended its shortsighted craft beer carryout purchase limits because it only legally allowed one case per customer. The likes of Colorado, California and even Texas are allowing bars and restaurants now to sell alcohol to-go, which is not normally legal, and now the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is allowing distilled spirits permittees to produce hand sanitizer. Let freedom ring.

But without the current COVID-19 crisis this would normally not happen. Do you know how many states normally allow alcohol delivery legally? According to Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), in a recent press release:

“Consumers can order thousands of household products and food from the internet, but prohibitions on shipping alcohol remain on the books. Instead of emergency laws allowing home delivery of alcohol for a short period of time, states should immediately move to make these laws permanent to increase consumer choice for every American. At present, 12 states allow for some method of delivery of all alcohol, and 31 states allow wine and beer to be purchased and shipped to consumers’ homes. Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Rhode Island, and Deleware currently bar alcohol deliveries to personal residences.

“Allowing for alcohol delivery will help consumers during the Covid-19 outbreak in the short term, but will also help boost economic activity and increase competition and options for consumers in the long term,” said Ossowski. “There are dozens of innovative apps and online services like Drizly and Thirstie that are beginning to offer alcohol delivery in real-time, but the legal status is uncertain.”

States should allow alcohol delivery and to-go purchases beyond this crisis

If you’re reading this, you’re probably sitting at home right now — just like millions of other Americans in the face of COVID-19. State alcohol restrictions are being temporarily lifted via emergency declarations issued by state legislators to help support restaurants and small businesses that will not normally be allowed to deliver alcohol to people’s homes or sell them to-go. Feels like now is a good time to make that permanent.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

When we’re back to normal: Free up spirits sales

Prince Edward Island made an international stir on Thursday by closing its liquor and cannabis stores on the grounds they were not providing essential services and therefore should be shuttered in the face of the pandemic. That may well have been the right decision. But it likely caused millions of people to reflect that, while binge-viewing their favourite streaming service or relaxing after a day of Monopoly with the kids, it would be more than nice to relax with a glass of their favourite beverage or ingestive. No one favours substance abuse. But responsible enjoyment of their relaxant of choice is something adults should be free to choose to do.

Except that in many places in Canada, governments have not made that choice very easy. Ontario historically has been such a place. But in the 2018 provincial election now-Premier Doug Ford made a commitment to expand retail access and consumer choice for the 11.6 million Ontarians who consume alcohol. So far, Ford’s main push has been to expand retail sales by allowing alcohol to be sold at convenience stores. When his government announced this change in May 2019, most long-suffering Ontario alcohol consumers rejoiced. Unfortunately, prospects for their liberation soon dimmed because of a legal battle with The Beer Store. For obvious reasons, the whole question of market structures for alcohol sales is on the far back burner. But eventually this political struggle will resume. Here’s how spirits could help break the logjam.

As a foreign-owned corporate entity with a near-monopoly on the sale of beer, The Beer Store is a powerful force in the province. After Ford’s announcement, it threatened the government with a $1-billion lawsuit for breach of contract if the “Master Framework Agreement” was terminated. That agreement prohibits Ontario from allowing increased beer retail beyond 450 approved grocery stores until after 2025.

Although pro-consumer organizations have urged the government to call The Beer Store’s bluff, arguing that its legal position is weaker than its PR suggests, the premier seems unwilling to proceed without first negotiating with The Beer Store. That’s a decidedly un-populist win for corporatism at the expense of Ontario consumers.

Yet the Ford government isn’t entirely handcuffed by the agreement Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals signed onto in 2015. If Ford wants to show his commitment to increasing consumer access in Ontario, but without ripping up the Master Framework Agreement, he should simply expand product variety at the 450 approved grocery stores provincewide. With the stroke of a pen, the province could allow approved grocery stores to sell spirits alongside the beer and wine they already sell. Nothing in the agreement prohibits this, and it would make an immediate impact for Ontario consumers.

Such a move would clearly demonstrate the Ford government’s commitment to greater choice for alcohol consumers and would let The Beer Store know the province is serious about liberalizing markets for alcohol.

Allowing spirits to be sold in grocery stores would also create a fairer marketplace for consumers, retailers and producers. As it currently stands, spirits can’t be sold in grocery stores. This obviously disadvantages both the consumers who prefer spirits, and the stores that would willingly sell these products. It also seriously disadvantages local Ontario distillers, as their products are prohibited from being sold alongside beer and wine. Frankly, it is silly that foreign-made wine and beer can be sold at grocery stores, but Ontario-made spirits, made with Ontario grains, can’t be.

Beyond expanding consumer choice and market equity, giving spirits the green light would help prepare the province for a full-scale rollout once convenience stores are brought into the retail market. Letting grocery stores sell spirits would pave the way for convenience stores to do the same, and that would be a significant boon to consumers who at the moment can only choose between a government monopoly or a government-protected corporate one.

For the moment, Doug Ford’s hands may be tied by past agreements and negotiations with The Beer Store. Luckily for lovers of spirits, there is an easy policy change that could expand access while avoiding a costly legal battle. For the sake of everyone who enjoys a cold drink in Ontario, let’s hope Ford follows through and values consumers over corporatism.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Merci la science! Un guide d’auto-assistance pour le coronavirus

Comment répondre à nos besoins en période de confinement ? Voici un guide des innovations qui nous permettent de passer ce désagréable moment.

Les deux dernières semaines ont probablement été les moments les plus étranges de la plupart de nos vies. Peu d’entre nous ont connu une restriction aussi massive de leurs voyages et de leur vie sociale avant l’apparition du coronavirus. Même en tant que passionné d’aviation et grand voyageur, je n’ai même pas vu l’immobilisation au sol de flottes entières d’avions au lendemain du 11 septembre 2001.

Les réunions d’affaires, conférences ou événements sportifs semblent être suspendus pendant au moins les six à huit semaines à venir. Ce n’est probablement qu’une question de temps avant que la plupart des pays ne ferme les salles de sport et les pubs.

Ce sera un défi non seulement pour l’économie, mais aussi pour notre vie sociale. Il sera important de garder le moral et la santé mentale. Il s’avère que des conversations vidéo régulières, mais très informelles avec des amis et des collègues, autour d’un verre, peuvent beaucoup aider à soulager l’anxiété accumulée par l’hystérie médiatique et le sentiment de ne pas être maître de la situation, impuissant.

Alors que nous essayons tous de nous adapter à une nouvelle réalité pour les 6 à 10 prochaines semaines, il y a aussi des raisons pour lesquelles je suis très heureux que cette crise survienne en 2020 et non en 2000. Beaucoup d’innovations se sont produites dans ce nouveau millénaire dont nous devrions être extrêmement reconnaissants.

Avant tout, nous devrions bien sûr être reconnaissants envers toutes les infirmières et tous les médecins qui ont aidé les patients en première ligne de l’épidémie. Ce seront des mois difficiles pour tous les professionnels de la santé et ils devraient recevoir tout le soutien nécessaire.

Et avant de nous plonger dans l’innovation médicale et la recherche d’un vaccin, regardons qui d’autre nous aide à prendre de la distance sociale, à nous isoler et à aplatir la courbe.

BESOIN DE TRAVAILLER ?

Les outils de travail à distance tels que Zoom, Asana ou les outils de Google ont déjà révolutionné le monde du travail. La plupart des réunions peuvent être converties en appel vidéo.

Ainsi, l’économie du savoir ou les emplois de défense des droits, comme ceux de mon organisation, peuvent au moins continuer à être productifs. Mais il est évident qu’il y a aussi la vie au-delà du travail et qu’il faut s’en occuper, y compris la garde des enfants.

BESOIN DE NOURRITURE ?

Grâce à des services de livraison de produits alimentaires tels qu’AmazonFresh et Ocado, j’ai pu constituer une bonne quantité de réserves de conserves, de produits secs et de produits pour la salle de bains, sans même avoir à me battre pour les derniers produits dans certains supermarchés presque vides. Au cours des prochaines semaines, nous aurons des livraisons régulières de produits frais, vu que je ne me contenterai pas de pâtes tant que corona ne sera pas vaincu. 

Les services de livraison de nourriture permettent de travailler encore plus facilement à domicile, tout en créant de la valeur, et d’être nourri par Papa John’s, Nando’s ou notre restaurant indien local. Domino’s Pizza est allé encore plus loin et vient de m’envoyer un courriel annonçant « Contact Free Delivery » au Royaume-Uni et en Irlande (j’habite à Londres) :

« En introduisant la livraison sans contact, nous pensons que nous donnerons à nos clients la tranquillité d’esprit lorsqu’ils commandent un Domino’s, tout en protégeant nos livreurs.

Vous pouvez sélectionner une livraison sans contact lors du passage de votre commande sur notre application ou notre site web. Votre chauffeur vous appellera à son arrivée pour convenir de l’endroit où vous souhaitez que votre nourriture soit laissée. Une fois la commande passée à l’endroit convenu, le chauffeur se tiendra à au moins deux mètres de vous pendant que vous irez chercher votre commande. Pour que le service soit vraiment sans contact, toutes les commandes de livraison sans contact doivent être prépayées en ligne ou par téléphone ».

Après m’être occupé de toute la pizza et du papier toilette dont j’ai besoin dans un avenir proche, il est maintenant temps d’examiner quels seront les besoins en matière de divertissement.

BESOIN DE DIVERTISSEMENT ?

Netflix et Amazon arrivent directement dans ma vie et, comme l’a fait remarquer ma collègue Maria, « c’est un fléau avec le WiFi ». Il n’est donc pas nécessaire d’aller dans le magasin de location de vidéos qui a fermé ses portes, mais vous pouvez diffuser en continu toutes les saisons de Buffy, et si cela dure plus longtemps que prévu, même Angel, directement chez vous.

Ma salle de sport vient de m’envoyer un e-mail m’informant qu’ils avaient un cas de COVID-19 et qu’ils sont actuellement fermés pour un nettoyage en profondeur. C’est bien que Kelli et Daniel de Fitness Blender aient plus de 500 vidéos d’entraînement gratuites sur YouTube. Sortez vos tapis de yoga !

Mais Buffy et HIIT ne sont pas disponibles en quantité suffisante pour une journée. Heureusement, les jeux vidéo (auxquels je n’ai pas prêté attention depuis longtemps) sont maintenant surtout diffusés en streaming ou téléchargés. Mes amis des médias sociaux m’ont recommandé Red Dead Redemption 2The Witcher 3 et Europa Universalis IV (probablement trop compliqué pour moi). Je pense donc que nous sommes tous prêts ici aussi !

BESOIN DE MÉDICAMENTS ?

Passons maintenant à l’une des plus grandes inventions de ces dernières décennies : les pharmacies en ligne ! Venant d’Allemagne et ayant travaillé dans le domaine de la politique de santé, je suis toujours perplexe quant à l’ampleur de la lutte contre les pharmacies en ligne et les ordonnances électroniques. En ces temps d’isolement et de distanciation sociale, ces deux mots sonnent comme de la musique à mes oreilles. 

J’ai pu commander et stocker toutes sortes de médicaments délivrés uniquement sur ordonnance, tels que des médicaments contre l’asthme, des inhibiteurs de la pompe à protons et des antibiotiques, sans même quitter mon appartement ; et tout cela LÉGALEMENT (avertissement : je souffre d’asthme) ! Il vous suffit de consulter un médecin en ligne ou de répondre à un quiz et de recevoir une ordonnance électronique.

C’est un soulagement énorme pour le système de santé, déjà mis à rude épreuve, car les patients n’inondent pas les cliniques juste pour demander des ordonnances et les pharmaciens peuvent se concentrer sur la production d’un plus grand nombre de désinfectants.

RÉJOUISSONS-NOUS DE CES INNOVATIONS

La plupart de ces services et entreprises mentionnés ci-dessus n’existaient même pas il y a vingt ans. Grâce à l’innovation et à la concurrence, les entrepreneurs ont mis au point ces nouvelles façons de servir les clients. C’est étonnant et, même si ce n’était peut-être qu’un simple gadget il y a quelques semaines, tout, de la vidéoconférence aux prescriptions électroniques, rend cette crise beaucoup plus gérable. Nous devrions nous en réjouir !

Il est évident qu’il existe des groupes vulnérables et que de nombreuses personnes souffriront lourdement du virus. C’est pourquoi nous avons besoin de plus d’innovation. Il y a déjà une course au premier vaccin et d’autres sociétés pharmaceutiques travaillent à la réorientation des antiviraux utilisés par exemple pour lutter contre le virus Ebola.

Certaines études suggèrent que certains médicaments contre le paludisme pourraient être utiles pour renforcer le système immunitaire des patients gravement malades atteints de coronaropathie. Il s’agit souvent de médicaments récemment découverts dont le développement nécessite beaucoup de temps et de capitaux. 

Nous devrions être reconnaissants pour l’innovation en médecine et admettre que ces percées ne sont possibles que grâce à des chercheurs enthousiastes et à l’appétit d’innovation risqué du secteur privé.

C’est pourquoi, à l’Agence pour le choix du consommateur (Consumer Choice Center), nous continuons à nous battre (depuis nos ordinateurs portables) pour le choix, l’innovation et l’élaboration de politiques pro-science. Nous en tirerons profit lors de la prochaine crise (un robot de garde d’enfants inclus) !

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

In times of Coronavirus: policy-makers won’t stop legislating your consumer choice away

Disclaimer: Independently of my arguments in this blog post, it remains very important that sanitise your hands regularly, avoid physical contact with other people, and reduce your social interactions to the necessary levels. Particularly avoid contact with elderly people, and those with underlying health conditions. Consult your local government health websites for more information, particularly on detecting symptoms. 

As the world is paralysed by the Coronavirus crisis, many people have altered schedules. Working from home, different commute, restrictions on crossing borders and severely impacted air travel: for a while, our lives will look very different. While healthcare workers and medical researchers are working around the clock to provide life-saving help and discover possible cures, our media attention is shifting away from our day-to-day worries to the well-being of our friends and family.

Meanwhile, policy-makers are not on a break. In the United States Senate, the re-authorisation of the Patriot Act was passed, giving warrantless collection of personal data an extension of 77 days. The French National Assembly is currently suspended, yet set to resume next week with a debate on nuclear deterrence, as President Macron has been criticised for not keeping his word on the reduction of nuclear weapons capabilities. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin changed the constitution on March 14, allowing him to run for yet another two terms. Just last week, the UK Parliament narrowly voted down an amendment that would have banned the Chinese telecommunications operator Huawei, under considerable flack for not guaranteeing consumer privacy, from engaging in the UK market. 

What we’re also experiencing is a number of media stories on harm-reduction tools such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products being dangerous in times of the virus, leading the way to further restrictions from governments. As consumers are paying attention to their own health and that of their families, authorities have an easier time passing otherwise unpopular decisions. Thus, consumers remain forced to consider their own attention as a valuable resource: the fight for consumer choice doesn’t rest.

Note that as a follower of the work of the Consumer Choice Center, you can send in tips through this website, making us and our volunteers aware of current events in the realm of consumer choice. Your local municipal council or government might be in the midst of trying to pass certain measures unnoticed, as news outlets are focused on this pandemic. Consumers will know that it is always a bigger struggle to repeal active legislation, than it is to stop those rules that are in the process of being made.

Some bans limiting consumer choice hurt especially in times of self-isolation: Home deliveries of alcohol, bans on online pharmacies, and limited opening hours of supermarkets are things you really don’t need right now.

Ultimately, legislators and regulators should give consumers a break, not only because people have more important things to do, but also because from a democratic standpoint, new restrictions ought to be carefully weighed and debated, before they pass the houses of parliament on the same day as people see their loved ones transported into emergency rooms. There are smart rules and relief for consumers that are being passed as we speak, and they should be applauded, but reductions in consumer choice need their fair share of input before they go to a vote.

For the sake of the standards we expect governments to abide by, let’s give consumers a break on new taxes, new bans, new infringements on their personal privacy, and new paternalistic policies. 


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

N.C. ABC stores remain open throughout state; liquor delivery not an option

N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control stores remain open throughout the state, although many staff members within the ABC system are working from home.

The stores have established new protocols to minimize direct contact between the public and staff working on site, Jeff Strickland, ABC spokesman, said in an email.

“Our goal is to protect the safety and well-being of our staff and the public, while ensuring we can still meet the needs of the public,” he said. “We do not believe that service to the public will be diminished from our efforts.” 

The ABC, he said, continues to follow guidance from the governor, Office of State Human Resources, and Department of Health and Human Services.

The ABC Commission is separate from the more than 400 stores, which are managed by 170 independent boards around the state. The boards would decide whether to close or adjust their hours or operations, Strickland said.

“At this time, the ABC Commission is not aware of any ABC boards that have closed their stores or plan to.” 

North Carolina residents can’t order spirits online, nor have them delivered, but people can order beer and wine for delivery if the entity performing the delivery has the appropriate permit. The General Assembly would have to change state law for liquor delivery, and that won’t happen anytime soon.

Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah ban all alcohol shipments to consumers, the Consumer Choice Center says in a news release. Only Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska, and New Hampshire allow consumers to buy alcohol online and have it shipped to their residences.

“Social distancing is here and millions of people are staying home to avoid spreading coronavirus,” says Yaël Ossowski, Consumer Choice Center deputy director.

“But if you’re unlucky enough to live in a state with strict alcohol laws, you won’t be able to ship a bottle of wine, a six-pack, or your favorite bourbon to your address. And that’s beyond ridiculous.

“Bans on shipping alcohol are leftover policies from Prohibition that deprive us of choice. These bans will only exacerbate the economic damage caused by coronavirus. In the 21st century, we should no longer have antiquated alcohol laws that restrict our choices, reduce commerce, and treat adults more like children.” Ossowski says.

North Carolina presents a unique case. It’s one of 17 control states — state-run systems — but the only state with a system of independent boards and local control, which dates to the late 1930s.

Residents, Ossowski says, are becoming increasingly aware of North Carolina’s paternalistic laws surrounding alcohol. 

“We can easily have food and groceries delivered, but those options are slim when it comes to alcoholic beverages,” he said in an email. “Due to strict N.C. alcohol laws, online merchants such as Amazon can’t stock your favorite wines, craft beers or liquors unless they follow a very strict line of regulations. No one can receive an alcohol shipment from out of state unless they’re a licensed wholesaler. Wineries looking to ship bottles must be located in state and can’t send you more than two cases per month. Breweries and distilleries face the same restrictions. At least until we change these regulations, North Carolina will remain behind when it comes to innovation and alcohol.”

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Libra : Facebook va revoir sa copie sur sa monnaie virtuelle

Pour ne pas froisser les États et les banques, Facebook va changer la stratégie du Libra et proposer une solution de paiement global à l’image de PayPal. Le réseau social ne compte pas pour autant abandonner les principes fondamentaux de sa cryptomonnaie.

Lors de la présentation de sa cryptomonnaie Libra en juin dernier, tout s’annonçait pourtant bien pour Facebook. Gérée par une fondation suisse et épaulée par de grands noms de la finance, tels PayPal, Visa et Mastercard, le développement de la monnaie a très rapidement été freiné par des tirs de barrage provenant des États. La France, en premier lieu, considère illégale la création d’une telle monnaie par une société privée. La crainte de l’utilisation de la devise universelle pour réaliser du blanchiment d’argent a aussi pesé beaucoup sur la remise en question du Libra. Au final, les partenaires qui pesaient le plus lourd ont quitté le projet.

Le côté réglementaire a donc eu raison des premières intentions de la cryptomonnaie de Facebook. Pour le coup, le réseau social est actuellement en train de revoir sa copie. Selon les sources du site The Conversation, Facebook et les partenaires qui n’ont pas quitté le navire, comptent refonder totalement le projet.

Facebook est en train de revoir sa copie pour la monnaie Libra. © prima91, Adobe Stock

Pour adoucir le courroux des États, plutôt que de créer une monnaie indépendante, la firme devrait plutôt proposer des déclinaisons numériques des devises, comme l’Euro, ou le dollar. Au final, pour se conformer à la législation, Libra pourrait tout simplement être assimilé à une plateforme de paiement de type PayPal.

Mais attention, Facebook ne compte pas pour autant mettre au rebut les principes de base du Libra. Il se donne juste du temps pour imaginer comment introduire cette cryptomonnaie. C’est pourquoi, la sortie de l’application Calibra, le portefeuille numérique du Libra, est décalée en octobre. De même, Facebook va restreindre cette application aux seuls États ayant émis des cryptomonnaies.

Pourquoi Libra est critiquée avant même son lancement ?

Comme prévu, Facebook a officiellement lancé sa monnaie virtuelle qui pourra être utilisée via Messenger et WhatsApp. Mais déjà, des voix s’élèvent contre cette cryptomonnaie accusée de faire le jeu du blanchiment d’argent ou de concurrencer les monnaies d’État.

Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Vodafone, Free ou encore Uber et Lyft… Des dizaines de géants de la high-tech et du système bancaire, mais aussi des ONG, épaulent Facebook pour le lancement de Libra, une cryptomonnaie destinée aux utilisateurs de Facebook et de WhatsApp, soit plus de deux milliards d’internautes !

L’idée est simple : bénéficier d’un porte-monnaie virtuel pour acheter et vendre des biens, via la messagerie instantanée, sans passer par une banque. Le tout avec une devise équilibrée dont la valeur est indexée sur plusieurs monnaies en vigueur pour éviter toute spéculation. Date de lancement ? Début 2020.

La France et les États-Unis y sont opposés

Le projet est très ambitieux mais il s’attire déjà les foudres des administrations. En France, le ministre de l’Économie, Bruno Le Maire, a rappelé qu’une entreprise privée ne pouvait pas créer une monnaie, concurrente des devises d’État. Du côté des États-Unis, où Facebook est sous le coup d’une enquête judiciaire pour la collecte et l’exploitation des données personnelles de ses membres, une parlementaire, qui dirige la Commission des Services financiers, exige que Facebook se présente devant le Congrès pour répondre aux inquiétudes et aux questions des représentants.

D’autres craignent que ce ne soit le moyen idéal pour blanchir de l’argent. Réponse de David Marcus, qui dirige cette nouvelle entité, au micro de France Info : « Si un réseau tel que celui-ci émerge avec beaucoup plus de transactions numériques, beaucoup plus de traçabilité, je pense qu’on va grandement améliorer l’efficacité des programmes anti-blanchiment et notamment à travers les porte-monnaie numériques qui seront régulés sur ce nouveau réseau. »

Au consommateur de décider si c’est un bon système ou pas?

Du côté des consommateurs, Consumer Choice Center, équivalent de Que-Choisir à travers le monde, regrette que les législateurs réclament la suspension du projet : « Contrôler la réglementation sur Internet et les sociétés financières est important, mais la mentalité de “légiférer d’abord, d’innover plus tard”, qui est apparue en réponse à Libra, devrait mettre tous les internautes en pause. Si chaque nouvelle innovation Internet est désormais soumise à l’approbation du Congrès, ce serait un dangereux précédent pour l’avenir du choix du consommateur en ligne », a déclaré Yaël Ossowski, dirigeant de cette association de défense du consommateur. Les consommateurs ont le droit de choisir s’ils souhaitent utiliser des crypto-monnaies ou des réseaux sociaux, et sont conscients des risques et des avantages considérables qui en découlent. Les utilisateurs recherchent une alternative et s’intéressent aux nouveaux outils numériques en ligne. C’est pourquoi, il y a un tel intérêt. »

La cryptomonnaie de Facebook arrive le 18 juin

Une dirigeante de Facebook a confirmé l’arrivée prochaine de la monnaie virtuelle de Facebook. Elle sera indexée sur plusieurs monnaies pour éviter les fluctuations et parmi les différents objectifs du réseau social, il y a l’idée de mettre en place un authentique réseau de distribution semblable à celui des distributeurs de billets actuels. 

Différentes sources s’accordent sur la date de lancement officielle de la nouvelle cryptomonnaie de Facebook, qui porte le nom de code Libra, et ce serait pour le 18 juin. L’information a notamment été confirmée par Laura McCracken, à la tête des services financiers et des partenariats pour les paiements de Facebook pour l’Europe du Nord, dans une interview accordée au journal allemand WirtschaftsWoche.

Pensant l’information déjà publique, Laura McCracken a indiqué que Facebook publiera à cette date un livre blanc détaillant le fonctionnement de la cryptomonnaie, et a confirmé qu’elle serait liée à plusieurs devises différentes, plutôt que le dollar seul, afin d’éviter les fluctuations.

Des transferts d’argent sans frais

La cryptomonnaie est prévue pour passer outre les frontières géopolitiques et pourra être transférée sans frais via ses applications Messenger et WhatsApp partout dans le monde. La firme compte notamment en faire la promotion dans les pays en voie de développement, où elle pourrait constituer une alternative stable aux monnaies locales volatiles.

Selon The Information, la firme compte aussi encourager son utilisation dans le monde physique, en installant notamment des machines similaires aux distributeurs de billets, qui permettront d’échanger des devises contre des jetons de sa cryptomonnaie. Facebook compte également proposer des bonus à l’inscription, en partenariat avec des marchands qui accepteront cette nouvelle monnaie.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Tobacco plain packaging policies have been chasing their own tail

Since 2012, many countries have outlawed branding on tobacco products, and yet more are considering taking this step. One of the most recent examples comes from Ukraine, where a group of parliamentarians have pledged to follow the Australian example of banning all brands by plain packaging as a means of reducing smoking rates. But do such policies actually achieve their desired outcomes?

Regardless of noble motives in place, the failures of plain packaging are numerous and evident. In 2012, Australia passed a nation-wide plain packaging decree. The goal was to reduce smoking rates. During the first years of the ban, more young people started to smoke. The smoking rates among Australians in the age range of 12-24-year-olds increased from 12 per cent in 2012 to 16 per cent in 2013. Little or no improvement was made among people aged 30 or older between 2013 and 2016. People aged 40–49 continued to be the age group most likely to smoke daily (16.9%) and the smoking rates among this age group went up from 16.2% in 2013. At the same time, Australia has seen an enormous increase in roll-your-own cigarettes: 26% in 2007, to 33% in 2013 and to 36% in 2016. 

Plain packaging, like taxation, is intended to push consumers away from particular products considered by governments to be harmful, unhealthy and detrimental to the wellbeing of society. What policymakers tend to overlook, though, is that demand for cigarettes is inelastic and thus neither taxes nor branding bans can substantially affect consumer behaviour. From this perspective, plain packaging coupled with extensive bans on cigarette advertising as a policy solution is useless. Do we really care about the branding of sugar or salt? We buy them anyway.

Smoking has no substitutes per se, but thanks to innovation there are healthier ways to consume nicotine. Vaping has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking and has been endorsed by international health bodies as a safer alternative. Public Health England, New Zealand Ministry of Health and Health Canada have all endorsed vaping for encouraging smokers to switch. 

Governments that try to outlaw smoking and consumer groups such as the Consumer Choice Center have a shared goal: to uphold public health. We are lucky to live at a time when innovative solutions have made it possible for us to find healthier smoking alternatives. Instead of making futile attempts to fight smoking with taxes and plain packaging, we should create conditions under which smokers can opt for vaping and are encouraged to do so through advertising.

Tobacco plain packaging policies have been chasing their own tail. They simply don’t work and end up becoming another ambitious yet flawed policy that sounds great on paper but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

The War On Single Use Plastic Is Sillier Than Ever

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has dominated the news cycle for weeks now. Infection rates are rising, and entire countries like Israel and Italy have enacted severe measures to stop the spread of the virus. That same intensity hasn’t crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, but the private sector has enacted measures to help stop the spread. Coffee giants like Tim Hortons and Starbucks have suspended their “bring your own cup” programs in response to Covid-19. Tim Hortons has taken things one step further and cancelled their iconic Roll Up The Rim program. Even chains like Bulk Barn have halted their container program to help prevent additional exposure.

Despite the rapid spread of Covid-19, environmental groups like Environmental Defence are still waging their war on single use plastic. Environmental Defence, in January, released their wall of shame for companies they feel have not done enough to reduce plastic pollution in Canada. Their list includes major brands like Loblaws, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks. 

The first major flaw in Environmental Defence’s war on plastic is that Canadians are not significant polluters when it comes to plastic marine litter. Up to 95 per cent of all plastic found in the world’s oceans comes from just 10 source rivers, which are all in the developing world.

Canada on average, contributes less than 0.01 MT (millions of metric tonnes) of mismanaged plastic waste. In contrast, countries like Indonesia and the Philippines contribute 10.1 per cent and 5.9 per cent of the world’s mismanaged plastic, which is upwards of 300 times Canada’s contribution. China, the world’s largest plastics polluter, accounts for 27.7 percent of the world’s mismanaged plastic. Canada, when compared to European countries like England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and France, actually contributes four times less in mismanaged plastic. The only European countries on par with Canada are the significantly smaller Sweden, Norway and Finland. Plastics bans might sound productive in terms of plastics pollution, but the evidence doesn’t suggest that Canada is actually a significant contributor for mismanaged plastic, which means that a Canadian ban will do little to actually reduce plastic pollution.

The second issue with Environmental Defence’s war on plastic is that some of their policy suggestions would actually do more harm to the environment. For Loblaws, the group has “shamed” them for not banning all single use plastic bags in their stores. Conventional thinking suggests that banning single-use plastic bags will result in people using reusable bags, and that this reduction in plastic use will have a positive impact on the environment. Research from Denmark’s Ministry of the Environment actually challenged that conventional wisdom when it sought to compare the total impact of plastic bags to their reusable counterparts. 

The Danes found that alternatives to plastic bags came with significant negative externalities. For example, common paper bag replacements needed to be reused 43 times to have the same total impact as a plastic bag. When it came to cotton alternatives, the numbers were even higher. A conventional cotton bag alternative needed to be used over 7,100 times to equal a plastic bag, while an organic cotton bag had to be reused over 20,000 times. We know from consumer usage patterns that the likelihood of paper or cotton alternatives being used in such a way is incredibly unlikely. These results were also largely confirmed with the U.K. government’s own life-cycle assessment, which concluded that these alternatives have a significantly higher total impact on the environment.

The last reason why Environmental Defence’s approach is misguided is that it flat out ignores viable alternatives for dealing with plastic waste. There are simple solutions available to us that don’t involve heavy-handed bans. For those single-use products that are not recyclable and otherwise end up in landfills, we could follow Sweden’s lead, and incinerate that waste. Doing so creates a power source for local communities, while capturing airborne toxins, limiting toxic runoff, and significantly reducing the volume of waste.

Good public policy should address a real problem and should make a meaningful impact on the said problem. Unfortunately, the suggestions made by Environmental Defence would promote higher impact alternatives, and put consumer safety at risk. 



The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

A Push for Smart Regulation of CBD

Encourage competition, safety, medical facts and eradication of the black market

ARLINGTON, Va. — Flashy display cases, provocative brand names and lists of health benefits have elevated cannabidiol (CBD), a nonintoxicating compound found in cannabis, to be one of the hottest product trends today.

Whether it be for health, pets or beauty care, the use cases of CBD are becoming mainstream. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of consumers using CBD to alleviate pain in their joints, reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Retail Revolution

The revolution is already here, and it arrived in a fury. The only guardrails came with the legalization of industrial hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill. That law created a legal distinction between a relative of cannabis without THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—commonly known as hemp—and THC cannabis, which remains classified as marijuana and is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

That law was a huge boost for farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers in the CBD space. And while it answered many questions, it sparked many more that will take time and deliberation to resolve: Who tests the actual CBD content of these products? Where are these products sourced? Which benefits and health claims are legitimate?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been running to catch up. It has so far focused on bogus health claims made by producers. Meanwhile, the FDA still maintains that food products containing CBD are illegal, despite their widespread availability in stores in practically every state and no real method of enforcement.

In May 2019, the FDA invited scientists, entrepreneurs and consumers to participate in a public hearing. Following statements and presentations from dozens of attendees, including myself, the FDA remains uncertain of what consumers and c-store owners looking to try or sell CBD products need to do to comply with the law.

The FDA is awaiting further instructions from lawmakers in Congress, who are currently floating myriad proposals to deal with cannabis. The latest would classify CBD as a health supplement, exempting it from more stringent regulation and allowing broader distribution in food and drinks.

Core Issues

Apart from that, there are still many gaps to fill. Considering many store owners are currently selling these products, it’s important that both sellers and consumers are aware of the core issues that should be addressed by the FDA and regulators.

In that May hearing, my group, the Consumer Choice Center, presented the following suggestions to the FDA if it wishes to implement smart regulation of CBD. Smart regulation would encourage competition, safety, medical facts and eradication of the black market.

The suggestions are:

  • Develop clear labeling standards, including the percentage of CBD and THC.
  • Allow free advertising and branding.
  • Allow stated health claims and benefits.
  • Embrace harm reduction by allowing CBD products in food, drinks, oils and topical products that do not require combustion.

We hope the FDA takes these points seriously and that these principles are followed by the industry as well.

What should the CBD-curious c-store professional do if they want to dive into CBD products?

  • Maintain a high standard for the products they source.
  • Choose only products with clear labeling and reasonable health claims.
  • Read the included fact sheets and materials that come with orders from reputable CBD firms.
  • Use independent testing services to check the levels of CBD and other compounds.

Entrepreneurs and consumers can work together today to ensure a competitive market with safe, beneficial and exciting innovations that will provide value to everyone.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

“Think of the children!” – How Lancet researchers parodise themselves

The Lancet’s new “A Future for the World’s Children?” report is once again some heavy nanny-stating. But this time, it goes right into real-life parody, argues Bill Wirtz.

The once well respected, but increasingly loony Lancet has in recent years endorse some of the harshest Nanny State policies around. From advertising restrictions to taxation of sugary drinks, the Lancet has yet to find a paternalistic policy it doesn’t like. In its newest release, the medical journal is going after advertising to children, which it views as a major threat to children and young adolescents.

Lancet Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton recently told policy-makers in a press release that marketing for cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food is increasingly worrying, and worsening public health concerns. This new report even calls for an optional protocol to be added to the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child that would mandate governments to regulate or ban marketing to children for things like sugary drinks and alcohol. “We are living in a fossil fuel-based, consumptive, production driven economy, which creates the conditions for harming the health of children”, Horton adds, saying that “I don’t think any of us can be happy that this is the world that we’re creating.”

The Lancet’s claim that companies are deliberately marketing unhealthy food and other vices to children is hard to grasp. Reading this, all readers are certainly questioning if tobacco companies are putting their cigarettes in strollers. Nothing of the sort has, obviously, happened so far.

Equally, the Lancet continues to condemn that children are subject to alcohol advertising during sports events. They’re referring to the fact that during interruptions of sports broadcasts, there are ads for beer or spirits, which are not only targeted towards adults, but are also accompanied with warning messages about the hazardous nature of these products. In essence, the researchers claim that any ad that could be seen by a child should not contain any risky products, which would, with the fringe exceptions of places such as 18+ cinema screenings, hit every single ad. Adding to that: from my own experience, I can say that sports events like football or motorsport would be something that as a child I would watch with my dad… who would drink a beer during the event. We should not over-inflate our perception of what advertising is really able to do.

In a piece for Comment Central in September, I had laid out why the ASA’s restrictions on certain advertising was equally patronising.

It is also thoroughly contradictory that the Lancet would argue against advertising for harm-reducing products such as e-cigarettes, notably since its own research in other areas of the world (such as New Zealand) shows that vaping has displaced youth cigarette smoking.

Overall, consumers shouldn’t be patronised by blanked advertising bans. There is a case to be made that children should be protected, and many services (such as the video-streaming platform YouTube) already offer browser-based parental controls. However, it is parents that need to play the biggest role in the education of children. Confronting and discussing advertising and the availability of potentially harmful products is a role of parents that they cannot fully or even confidently outsource to the State.

Following the advice of the Lancet would lead us down the path of overprotecting children, all while reducing the consumer choice and information of adult consumers.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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