Myth: Out of State
MYTH: An individual can visit another state or country and bring any wine they want back into Maryland for personal consumption.
FACT: Under Maryland law, consumers are ONLY allowed to legally bring one quart of wine into the state at a time and not more than
two quarts during any one calendar month or one gallon if coming from overseas for personal use.
Maryland employs a legal framework that generally prohibits the importation of alcohol into the state. The principal exception applies to businesses with a commercial license or permit, which are strictly regulated and not available to general consumers. The second set of exceptions gives consumers a very limited ability to bring alcohol into the state for personal consumption. The Maryland Comptroller interprets Code of Maryland Article 2B and Tax-General Title 5 to allow consumers a limited ability to import alcohol given four different circumstances:1
In general, a consumer who is over the age of 21 may bring into the state for personal consumption one quart of any alcoholic beverage at a time and not more than two quarts of any alcoholic beverage in a calendar month. Further, consumers must physically import the wine themselves whether by car or plane. Since the exception only allows for a CONSUMER to bring a small amount of alcohol into the state for PERSONAL consumption, a person cannot have anyone else bring the wine into the state for them nor can they bring wine into the state with the intention of gifting or otherwise transferring title to the wine.2
The next two consumer exceptions allow consumers returning from the American Territories or abroad to bring back with them up to 1 gallon of alcohol. Under these exceptions, a consumer can import up to 5 bottles of wine when returning from a foreign nation. Again, though, the exception requires that the consumer physically import the wine themselves.
The last consumer exception applies to individuals that are moving into the state of Maryland. Any consumer changing domicile to the state of Maryland may obtain a Change of Domicile Permit allowing him/her to bring his entire private stock of alcoholic beverages into the state. The only limitations on this exception are that the importing individual must pay Maryland excise tax on the imported beverages and that the alcohol must be for normal household use.
- 'Restrictions On Import Of Alcoholic Beverages', Administrative Release AB1, Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury, January 2004.
- Under federal law, checked baggage on a flight is in the passenger's possession such that it meets Maryland's standard for physical importation.