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Protests filed against wine-in-grocery-stores ballot language

Two protests have been filed against an initiative petition seeking to give certain grocery stores in Oklahoma's 15 largest counties the opportunity to sell wine.
by Andrew Knittle Published: April 26, 2012

An initiative petition seeking to give certain grocery stores the opportunity to sell unrefrigerated wine has drawn two protests.

The protests were filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier in the week, although only one of them is on file with the Secretary of State's office.

Both protests focus on the ballot language itself because it doesn't address a single topic, which is required of initiative petitions under state law.

Each protest also claims the proposed ballot language violates the equal protection clause of the state's constitution because it only allows certain stores to sell wine.

Court records show that Yousef Javadzadeh, who owns several convenience stores in the Oklahoma City area, has filed his protest with both the Supreme Court and the secretary of state.

Two groups, the Oklahoma Prevention Policy Alliance and Fighting Addiction Through Education, filed the other protest with the state's highest court. That protest was not filed with the secretary of state's office by the close of business Wednesday.

The groups' protest goes on to claim that allowing more wine to be sold in Oklahoma would further stretch the “scarce resources” available to the state's Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission.

A nonconstitutional challenge leveled by the groups is that more wine in Oklahoma will spell more trouble.

“While neither organization advocates a return to the days of Prohibition, both organizations and their members understand that increasing alcohol availability increases the opportunity for alcohol abuse,” the groups' protest reads.

“It is an undeniable reality that alcohol is the most abused drug in the state of Oklahoma, carrying with it an incalculable expense in terms of human lives and economic capital.”

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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