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5 Legal Issues With Your Kid's Lemonade Stand

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

When life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade -- but you may not be able to sell it at a lemonade stand, at least not without jumping through some legal hoops.

There is an inexplicable war on lemonade stands, as a Forbes headline so eloquently put it, and your kids are losing the battle. Giving moonshine a run for its money, many kids' lemonade stands are getting shut down.

Here are five legal issues that can potentially stand in the way of your kid's lemonade stand:

  1. Permits. To operate a lawful lemonade stand, your mini-entrepreneur may need to apply for vendor and food permits. You may need a permit even when the stand is operating from the "company headquarters" (i.e., your house...). Three girls in Georgia learned this lesson the hard way when they were busted by their local police chief for running an illegal lemonade stand, according to NBC News. They were saving up for water park tickets.
  2. Public health. To comply with your local health code, you may need a license and an inspection. For failing to do that, an inspector in Oregon shut down a 7-year-old girl's lemonade stand at a monthly art fair in Portland.
  3. Local ordinances. It'd be a shame if little Timmy slogged away making his Country Time-esque libation only to find out it violates a local ordinance. For example, a Wisconsin city council passed an ordinance preventing vendors from selling products within two blocks of local events -- including kids who wanted to sell lemonade, according to Green Bay's WLUK-TV.
  4. Zoning and traffic. If little Timmy's lemonade stand is blocking traffic, causing congestion or creating an obstruction on public sidewalks, law enforcement may shut down his stand because of traffic and safety concerns. The parents of kids running a lemonade stand in Maryland during the U.S. Open were slapped with a $500 fine in part because of vehicular and foot traffic. Check zoning and traffic laws -- especially during special events.
  5. Labor laws. Remember, federal and state child labor laws prevent children of certain ages from working certain jobs.

If you'd like to squeeze out some more legal information about your kid's lemonade stand, you may want to speak with a grown-up business attorney in your area.

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