WA State Voters To Decide If Teens Should Die From Alcohol
On November 8th in Washington State voters will weigh in on a very important ballot measure: Initiative-1183. Though Initiative 1183 will allow a variety of things, most importantly it would actually remove the state from the sale and distribution of spirits and allow retail outlets to purchase spirits directly from the spirit manufacturer as well as from private distributors.
How do I know Initiative 1183 is a good thing? Because the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America have contributed nearly every penny of the $12 Million that have been raised in opposition to the ballot measure.
That's a bit cheeky, isn't it?…determining if a ballot measure is good or bad based on whether or not wholesalers support it.
OK…How about this? I know the ballot measure is a good thing when the opposition begins to argue that its passage will lead to the deaths of our teen-aged children.
The key to understanding Washington's I-183 is that: 1) it gets the state out of the business of selling alcohol 2) In doing so it gives retailers and suppliers of alcohol the opportunity to do business directly with each other rather than having to go through a middleman wholesalers. 3) Costco is funding nearly the entire Pro I-1183 campaign. Beer and wine wholesalers primarily outside of Washington State are funding nearly all of the NO on I-1183 campaign.
Make no mistake: Wholesalers across the country HATE this ballot initiative because it represents not just an instance of the scales in one state being slightly tipped away from their favor. They HATE it because it represents reform to the idea of the state-mandated three tier system and it is that system that sustains the wholesalers and which is the bedrock of their success. The great fear is that this move to get the state out of the business of selling alcohol and to allow sales directly from supplier to retailer will spread across the country.
The latest poll shows that a majority of Washington State voters approve of Initiative 1183. What will be interesting to watch is the fall out of 1183 passing. Wholesalers will respond that Costco "BOUGHT" the initiative in Washington State through their nearly $20 million contribution to the the effort. Yet, surely there will be be someone (or many) around to point out that wholesalers have been buying legislation that favors them for many years, only they do it through campaign contributions to candidates.