Wine, Spirits, Comedy and Science Fiction in Kentucky
“I hope we can agree liquor and wine should not be on unsupervised shelves where kids work and shop.”
Representative David Keene—Kentucky
This is the rationale given for a proposed law in Kentucky that would:
1. Prohibit wine and Spirits from being sold in Grocery Stores
2. Allow beer to continue to be sold in grocery stores
3. Continue to allow wine and spirits to be sold in pharmacies that currently sell it
4. Prohibit wine and spirits from being sold in newly opened pharmacies
5. Prohibit wine and spirits from being sold in Pharmacies currently selling wine and spirits when sold to a new owner
Anyone see the problem here that could only be created by lawmakers?
Sometimes I read about these newly proposed laws and wish I had been in the committee hearing just to listen to the rationale given for them. For I am a fan of both comedy and science fiction. Let’s see if have this straight. Teens should not be allowed in stores where wine and spirits is sold, presumably because they will be tempted to do something with the wine and spirits which sit on “unsupervised” shelves, so wine and spirits need to be kept out of grocery stores. However, we need not be concerned about teens being allowed in stores where beer sits on unsupervised shelves, presumably because teens have little interest in beer, so beer should be allowed to be sold in grocery stores. However, wine and spirits should be allowed to be sold in certain pharmacies where teens are allowed, presumably because either 1) teens lose interest in wine and spirits when in pharmacies or 2) because the shelves holding wine and spirits in pharmacies are guarded 24-7 and not let un-supervised?
This newly proposed Kentucky law that combines the joys of comedy and the brow-furrowing elements of science fiction is in response to a court decision that determined that Kentucky law allowing wine and spirits and food to be sold in pharmacies, but prohibited wine and spirits to be sold in grocery stores alongside food was unconstitutional.
The solution is to ban the sale of wine and spirits in pharmacies, but to grandfather in those pharmacies that had sold wine and spirits all along, until the pharmacy changes hands.
Now, it’s also notable that Kentucky liquor store owners express support for this proposed law not because it gives them a semi-monopoly on the sale of wine and spirits, but because they are concerned about teen drinking.
Of course the real question here is should Kentucky lawmakers be concerned about teens pilfering a bottle of Cabernet or a fifth of Jack Daniels off a grocery store shelf? Let’s let a Kroger grocery store executive in Kentucky answer that question:
“John Hackett, Kroger’s mid-south division president, said Kentucky stores conducted almost 5 million beer transactions last year and had only two alcohol rule violations. He said concerns about under-age access by proponents of the bill are unfounded based on those sales and Kroger’s sales of alcohol in groceries in other states like Indiana.”
Who’d a guessed it.
Finally, who would have guessed this: the sponsor of this bill, Rep. David Keene, is among the top recipients of campaign contributions from Kentucky liquor store owners and Kentucky alcohol wholesalers.
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