Washington State’s Alcohol Law Need Further Fixing
With Initiative 1183 in Washington State now recently passed into law by state voters and the state out of the business of selling spirits, it's time to fix this law.
The primary flaw with Initiative 1183 is the requuirement that private stores selling spirits be 10,000 square feet or larger. When the initiative was written that requirement was placed in the law to assure critics that corner convienence stores and gas stations wouldn't be selling hard liquor.
While I disagree that such a provision is necessary, I do understand why small wine shop owners who have been selling wine responsibly for decades in their smaller stores feel like initiative 1183 isn't fair to them; that larger grocery stores and and big box stores will have edge.
There's a way to fix this problem: The Washington State legislature should pass a law that allow stores under 10,000 square feet that obtain more than 70% of their revenue from the sale of wine to sell spirits.
This would keep spirit sales out of gas stations and convenience stores, yet allow the most responsible alcohol vendors in the state to find a level playing field. For the next two years any amendment to 1183 must pass by a 2/3 vote in the legislature. After those two years are up, a majority vote will do the trick.
The Washington legislature shouldn't wait. they should immediately give parity to small wine stores and pass this fix. Whether the Initiative's author, Costco, would support this kind of law is unknown, but I suspect they just might support it. Initiative 1100, which had their support in 2010, but failed to pass voter muster, would have allowed these smaller stores to sell spirits.
This is a fix that promotes fairness. It's good for commerce. It's good for competitiion and it would be good for consumers in Washington.