OUTLAWED? Sale of Wine and Strong Beer in Grocery Stores
The agency in Oklahoma enforcing alcohol laws is casting doubts on the sale of wind and strong beer in grocery stores. According to John Maisch, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission (ABLEC) general counsel, “The more accessible you make any alcoholic beverages, the less control you have over it.”
Next year, the Legislature is expected to be considering the sale of wine and strong beer in convenience and grocery stores.
In the state of Oklahoma, licensed bars, restaurants, and liquor stores are the only ones allowed to sell wine and strong beer. In most states in the U.S. however, the sale of wine and strong beer in convenience and grocery stores is allowed.
In a legal conference conducted about 2 months ago, Maisch said that, “Oklahoma does not believe that its liquor policies should be dictated by national trends. Simply because a majority of states permits a certain activity, or fail to prohibit a certain activity, doesn’t necessarily mean those states’ laws reflect the best public policy.” He cited various studies from European countries, which showed the adverse effects of alcohol deregulation on health and safety of the public. In a more recent statement, Maisch said that increasing the availability of alcohol will just worsen alcohol abuse in the state.
While some may be amenable to the idea, the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma however, express their opposition in allowing the sale of wine and strong beer in grocery stores. The association, which is made up of liquor store owners, sees the idea harmful for locally owned businesses involved in the industry of retail and distribution of liquor.