Ways & Means Committee is hearing comments about SB 5917 which would allow the Liquor Control Board to implement a pilot project appointing up to ten urban grocery stores to include state-run liquor sales. In other words, this bill would allow hard alcohol to be sold in urban grocery stores that currently are only allowed to sell beer and wine.
Even though two liquor privatization initiatives were rejected by Washingtonians in November, the issue is not going away any time soon. This bill attempts to get the process of privatization started by allowing the sale of hard alcohol in grocery stores.
A CDC task force on reducing excess alcohol consumption and underage drinking recommends several strategies including regulating how many places can sell alcohol and limiting the days and hours alcohol can be sold. If hard alcohol is sold in grocery stores, many which are open 24/7, these proven ways of reducing excessive and underage alcohol consumption would be eliminated.
At the end of Prohibition, state regulations allowed for the sale of beer in grocery stores because it contained a relatively low amount of alcohol. The sale of liquor was restricted to liquor stores as a way to reduce access to products with higher alcohol content. More information about why alcohol regulation is good for public health is available at The Campaign for a Healthy Alcohol Marketplace.