Thursday, April 8, 2010

Initiative Allowing Grocery Stores to Sell Beer, Wine and Liquor Advances One Step Closer to Ballot

Denver, CO (April 8, 2010) On Wednesday afternoon, the Colorado Secretary of State Title Board approved the ballot language for the proposed initiative that would allow grocery stores to sell liquor, wine and full-strength beer. Initiative 48 would also permit convenience stores to sell full-strength beer in place of 3.2 beer.

If approved by voters, consumers could enjoy the convenience of buying full-strength beer, wine and liquor where they do the rest of their shopping. Craft brewers who do not currently manufacture 3.2 beer could gain access to selling their products at grocery and convenience stores. The initiative also removes the restriction on liquor licenses that limits their ownership to one store.

Later in the afternoon, the State House Business Affairs and Labor Committee narrowly passed a related proposal allowing grocery stores to buy the liquor licenses of liquor stores and begin selling more than the reduced-strength beer. That measure heads next for the House Finance Committee, although efforts to change Colorado's prohibition-era liquor laws have failed to pass legislative committee and reach a floor vote every year for the last three years.

The Title Board's consent was a final step before initiative author Blake Harrison can begin to collect the more than 76,000 signatures required to place the measure on the ballot in November.

“Consumers have wanted this convenience for a long time, but it has never even made it to a full vote in the legislature," stated proponent Blake Harrrison, "This time we have the backing of the grocery stores and convenience stores, so I think it is likely that voters will have an opportunity to decide for themselves if legislative efforts fail.”

In 2002, Harrison staked his claim as a consumer advocate with an initiative to allow liquor stores to be open on Sundays. The initiative paved the way for its eventual passage in 2008.

Harrison presently serves as Deputy District Attorney in Denver and is a candidate for the State House of Representatives in House District 7.

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