A dairyman who sold milk to buyers by contractual agreement has been declared “not guilty.” The contracts were valid. The jury refused to convict him of having violated Wisconsin laws against selling raw milk. The jury said he was not breaking three state laws against selling without a license.
The jury did convict him on having removed a tape the state placed on refrigerators. He could go to jail for a year and pay $10,000.
The state can still prosecute. The jury’s decision applies only to this case. If the state decides that it wants to risk bad publicity, it can legally continue to prosecute dairymen who follow the victim’s practice of selling to a group of consumers that have special contracts with him.
This is a decision at the margin of society. The average person will not be allowed to walk into a retail outlet and buy raw milk.
The decision affects only one state. It remains a crime in most states for a dairyman to sell raw milk to walk-in customers. The resistance to raw milk by most state regulators, that has gone on for 50 years, will continue.
There is a ray of hope, however. At some price, with some difficulty, consumers and producers may be able to get around the regulatory system. In Wisconsin. For now.