The liberty of selling lemonade

By: William R. Toler - Editor

Hannah Pasley made headlines this week when dozens of police officers showed up at her lemonade stand.

But unlike in years past, they weren’t there to shut her down.

The Kansas City, Missouri 3-year-old wants to be a police officer when she grows up, according to the Kansas City Star.

Pasley had raised enough money through her venture on Friday and Saturday morning to buy her own uniform.

The Star reports that she went back out in her new uniform Saturday afternoon, but no one was stopping by.

To help drum up some business, the girl’s aunt and a friend began posting to social media and within two hours, the first officer arrived — soon followed by six patrol cars, lights flashing.

Eventually, more than 50 police officers and sheriff’s deputies visited the lemonade stand — including K-9s, horses and even a helicopter flyover.

Things have changed since July 2011, when police in Midway, Georgia busted an illegal lemonade stand for operating without a business license, peddler’s permit and food permit.

The local police chief reportedly added that officers didn’t know how the lemonade was made.

The previous month, officials in Bethesda, Maryland shut down the stand of a group of kids trying to sell lemonade outside the U.S. Open.

A county inspector reportedly told them they couldn’t legally sell their lemonade and fined the parents $500 — which was almost twice as much as the permit.

The county later reconsidered, saying the kids would have to move 100 feet away from the intersection and waived the fine.

That same year, three activists — Meg McLain, K.N. Dill and Will Duffield — were arrested by Capitol Police and charged with failure to obey a police officer, unlawful conduct and vending without a permit during Lemonade Freedom Day in Washington, D.C., an event to protest the government intervention of a time-honored tradition and to promote voluntary exchange.

Hopefully the experience in Kansas City is a sign that local governments will let kids sell lemonade without interference. And maybe even support their industrious efforts by buying a cup or two.

William R. Toler is editor of the Richmond County Daily Journal.

William R. Toler