State question over wine in grocery stores is complex

If an Oklahoma state question passes, counties with more than 50,000 residents would have the option of letting voters decide whether to allow grocery stores in those counties to sell wine.
by Andrew Knittle Published: April 13, 2012
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Change limited to largest counties

If the state question passes, counties with more than 50,000 residents would have the option of letting voters decide whether to allow grocery stores in those counties to sell wine. The counties are Oklahoma, Tulsa, Canadian, Cleveland, Comanche, Creek, Garfield, Grady, Le Flore, Muskogee, Payne, Pottawatomie, Rogers, Wagoner and Washington.

If voters approve, wine would be sold unrefrigerated, for off-premises consumption only, according to the petition.

Sales of wine would be prohibited to people under 21 years old, although people under 21 would be allowed into the grocery stores to buy other items. People under 21 aren't allowed in liquor stores.

Grocery stores would require at least 25,000 square feet of floor space to qualify for a wine license.

Corporations would be eligible for grocery store wine licenses, but would be limited to six locations statewide. They could receive licenses for no more than two locations in the first two years and seek licenses for up to two more locations in each of the next two-year periods, for a total of six in six years.

If voters approve the statewide initiative petition, the earliest a county election on the issue could be held would be about 18 months after November, supporters said.

Those wanting grocery stores to sell wine in the 15 eligible counties would have to conduct a petition drive to get the matter on the ballot in each county. The election would be held within 180 days after petitioners gather at least 8 percent of the total number of votes cast in the county during the last gubernatorial election.

Michael McNutt,

Capitol Bureau


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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