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New Jersey is now the only state that still bans the sale of homemade baked goods.

Mike Pomranz
October 06, 2017

Wisconsin bakers who may have felt in limbo about their legal right to sell their homemade baked goods have gotten a clear indication as to where the law currently stands: A judge has declared that essentially anyone can start selling their cookies and cakes, and they can do it ASAP.

Back in May, home bakers in Wisconsin, which at the time was one of only two states that firmly restricted the sale of homemade baked goods, scored a big victory when Circuit Court Judge Duane M. Jorgenson ruled that regulations that prevented three Wisconsin bakers from growing their home baking business without obtaining a license was unconstitutional. However, what wasn't entirely clear was whether his ruling only applied to these three women or whether it also applied to home bakers across the entire state. These plaintiffs requested that Jorgenson extend his decision to "similarly situated individuals," and in a ruling filed on October 2, he agreed.

"This Court is satisfied that its ruling of May 31, 2017 should and can be extended to those other individuals that are similarly situated to the Plaintiffs," the judge stated. "This Court finds that there is no set of circumstances where the State could rationally require a home baker (as they call themselves), who seeks to sell commercially non-hazardous baked goods … that are self stable, and where … the bakers are of 'good character', or the 'hygiene' of their kitchens are not in question, and it is undisputed that the bakers' kitchens are clean." Granted, that's not the world's clearest sentence, but you get the judge's point.

"This ruling is a major step for economic liberty and common sense in Wisconsin," Erica Smith, lead attorney on the case with the Institute for Justice, said in a statement. "Wisconsin was one of only two states, the other being New Jersey, that banned the sale of goods baked in a home oven. Before a person could sell even one cookie, they needed to acquire an expensive commercial kitchen and a burdensome commercial license. Now, Wisconsin home bakers are free to sell their baked goods out of their home, at community events and at farmers' markets—something people are already doing in almost every other state every day."

Speaking of New Jersey, a group is working to shed the state of that distinction as well.