Alcohol merchants play an important role in assisting to keep communities safe by selling alcohol responsibly. There are numerous local resources available to assist businesses with preventing sales of alcohol to underage youth or intoxicated patrons.
Educational resources, including ID Checking Guides, magnifying loops, and lights are provided, when available, to assist in accurately identifying a patron’s legal age to consume alcohol.
Compliance checks of alcohol merchants are conducted to ensure compliance with local and state alcohol laws and reduce retail access of alcohol to underage youth. Funding for compliance checks is provided by the Maryland Department of Health.
The Frederick County Health Department would like to thank the alcohol merchants for their efforts to promote responsible beverage service in Frederick County.
***Effective October 1, 2019: Retailers can only sell tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, e-liquids and accessories, to individuals who are at least 21 years old. Retailers must verify customer age with a driver’s license or government-issued ID.
Effective December 20, 2019, the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products was also raised from 18 to 21. There is no military exemption according to federal law.***
Retailers are an important part of our communities, providing goods and services to residents of all ages. Licensed tobacco retailers are uniquely positioned to act responsibly and help reduce and eliminate underage access to tobacco products in Maryland.
Tobacco retailers are required by law to:
Ask for photo ID for everyone under 27.
Check to make sure everyone is at least 21 years old.
Refuse to sell tobacco and e-cigarettes products to everyone under 21.
Violations and Penalties:
Sale or distribution of a tobacco product, including Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) to a minor:
The licensee/owner, not the clerk, may be subject to a civil penalty up to:
$300 for a first violation;
$1,000 for a second violation within two years of the first violation; and
$3,000 for each subsequent violation occurring within two years of preceding violation
(Md. Ann. Code Health Gen. §24-305 and Md. Ann. Code Health Gen. §24-307)
To protect your business and to prevent the illegal sale of tobacco products, it is your responsibility to educate all your employees. Ask for and check ID before getting the tobacco products off the shelf. Check the identification carefully and check for any tampering, imperfections or other possible alterations.
Free educational resources and products are listed below: