Oklahoma: Time running out for wine and beer sales in grocery stores

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Oklahoma: Time running out for wine and beer sales in grocery stores

 

Source: KFOR

April 4, 2016

 

The clock is ticking for legislation seeking a statewide vote on full-strength beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores.

 

Senate Joint Resolution 68 must make it out of a House of Representatives committee this week.

 

If that happens, it would go to a vote of the people in November in hopes of changing the bulk of state alcohol laws.

 

“They are a little frustrated when they come and they can’t find those things in Oklahoma. It makes them frustrated about living in Oklahoma,” said Ba Luong.

 

It’s that frustration that has grocery store owners like Luong looking for answers for those customers wanting wine and strong beer on grocery store shelves.

 

SJR 68 would do just that.

 

“It would allow for customers the convenience to be able to shop for their meal and also pick up a bottle of wine or beer instead of having to stop by a liquor store,” he said.

 

Sen. Clark Jolley is the primary author of the legislation.

 

In addition to wine and strong beer sales at grocery and convenience stores, SJR 68 would eliminate any constitutional requirement for 3.2 percent beer.

 

The measure is being opposed by the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma.

 

“I’m not trying to shut down a liquor store. I don’t want to pick up all their sales. I just want to pick up that convenience factor so that they are happy and willing to come back and shop here,” he said.

 

The measure does include some benefits for liquor stores.

 

Those stores would be allowed to sell cold beer and wine and non-alcoholic products like soda, ice, mixers and corkscrews.

 

If SJR 68 does not make it out of the house, there could still be changes to the states liquor laws.

 

There are two initiative petitions still out there.

 

But, both are being challenged in the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

 

The first was filed in February by the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma.

 

The RLOS’s petition requires at least 2,500 feet between two outlets selling spirits and wine – existing locations would be okay.

 

Retail package store owners could also sell their wine licenses to grocers.

 

The petition is being challenged by The Oklahoma Grocers Association.

 

The group claims the petition is misleading and deceptive.

 

The case will be heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court on April 14.

 

The second initiative is a joint petition by Oklahomans for modern laws and Oklahomans for consumer freedom.

 

This petition is similar to SJR 68.

 

It’s being challenged by the RLOA.

 

Oral arguments Oklahoma Supreme Court May 3.

 

Tyler Moore is with a group pushing one of the petitions.

 

“As I travel the state and I ask people if they will quit going to liquor stores, and they always say no. The variety and expertise they offer is reason enough to go there,” Moore said.