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Wineries speculate on effects of state question to allow wine in grocery stores

If a constitutional amendment to allow some grocers to sell wine succeeds, it could have a ripple effect through businesses in the three tier system.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: June 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm •  Published: June 16, 2012

If wine is allowed on grocery store shelves, it would mark the first major change to the state's liquor laws in nearly three decades, an attorney for the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission says.

A proposed state question would give Oklahoma counties with 50,000 or more residents the option of allowing certain grocery stores to sell wine. The state Supreme Court is examining two protests opposing the initiative petition and oral arguments are set for Thursday.

John Maisch, an attorney for the ABLE Commission, said if voters ultimately approve the measure, it would be the third major change to the state liquor laws.

The first was in 1959, when Oklahoma repealed prohibition and the second in 1984, when voters approved liquor by the drink — decided by individual counties (26 counties remain dry).

Enforcement challenges

Allowing wine in grocery stores could pose some challenges, he said, because it would increase the number of outlets to enforce and increase youth access to alcohol. But because the proposal would only apply to large grocery stores in certain counties and restricts the number of stores, it's more manageable than originally thought, he said.

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by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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If I were to take a stance other than neutral, I would offend the hand that feeds me right now.”

Andrew Snyder

President of the

Oklahoma Grape

Growers and Wine

Makers Association

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