Occupational Licensing

Court: Unlicensed Coin Dealers Can't Be Prosecuted in Ohio

Blocks a free speech-defying interpretation of law

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COLUMBUS — It's perfectly legal to buy and sell gold and other precious metals without a license in Ohio.

But the moment you tell anyone that's what you do, you're a criminal under an Ohio law a federal judge just blocked.

At the least, you're a criminal according to the Ohio Department of Commerce, whose sudden enforcement of a law on the books since 1983 is threatening an entire industry.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson blocked enforcement of the Ohio Precious Metals Dealers Act on free-speech grounds, after the state was unable to produce any evidence the law served a purpose.