Why? Because the State Dental Association used it’s political muscle to get a law passed to criminalize the competition. This is what government does when it gets too powerful and the money gets too fast and loose. So the Institute for Justice is suing in federal court. They made this video to mock the state for this boneheaded maneuver:
Lisa Martinez was forced to shut down her businesses or face five years in prison. Her crime? Teeth whitening.
In 2008, Lisa opened Connecticut White Smile in the Crystal Mall in Waterford, Conn., where she sold an over-the-counter whitening product and provided a clean, comfortable place for customers to apply the product to their own teeth, just as they would at home.
As it turns out, teeth-whitening services are popular and increasingly available at spas, salons and shopping malls all across the country. People are so eager to use these services because they provide great results at a fraction of the cost that dentists charge.
As Lisa puts it:
My customers loved my convenient location and affordable prices. Owning my own business gave me a flexible schedule that allowed me to spend more time with my family.
Unfortunately, as happens all too often, happy customers + happy entrepreneurs = unhappy special interests.
In June, the Connecticut Dental Commission decided to clamp down on teeth whitening. The commission ruled that offering teeth-whitening services is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison or $25,000 in civil penalties for anyone but a licensed dentist.
The ruling even applies to businesses like Lisa’s Connecticut Smile White, where customers apply the product to their own teeth. Some people may be wondering: What’s the difference between whitening my teeth at home with a product I buy online and whitening my teeth at a shopping mall or salon with an identical product? Remarkably, in Connecticut the difference is that the shopping mall and salon entrepreneurs can be thrown in prison for five years.
Thankfully, economic-liberty expert Paul Sherman of the Institute for Justice has teamed up with Lisa and other Connecticut entrepreneurs to change that. This week IJ filed a federal lawsuit to end Connecticut’s government-enforced teeth-whitening cartel. Paul explains:
The Dental Commission’s new teeth-whitening law has nothing to do with public health or safety and everything to do with protecting licensed dentists from honest competition. Rather than trying to compete by lowering prices or improving their services, the dental cartel is using government power to put their competition out of business. That’s unconstitutional. And that’s why we’re taking the dental cartel to federal court.