Massachusetts Sale of Wine by Food Stores Initiative, Question 1 (2006)
The initiative would have allowed local licensing authorities to issue wine licenses to qualified food stores.
|Question 1 (Sale of Wine by Food Stores)|
Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division
In the proposed law, "food stores" was defined as a retail vendor, such as a grocery store, supermarket, shop, club, club, outlet or warehouse-type seller, that sells food to consumers to be eaten elsewhere (which must include meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, fresh fruit and produce, and other specified items), and that may sell other items usually found in grocery stores. Holders of licenses to sell wine at food stores could sell wine either on its own or together with any other items they sell.
The licensing authorities in any city or town of up to 5000 residents could issue up to 5 licenses for food stores to sell wine. In cities or towns of over 5000 residents, one additional license could be issued for each additional 5000 residents (or fraction of 5000). No person or business could hold more than 10% of the total number of the licenses that could be issued under the proposed law. Such licenses would not be counted when applying the laws that limit the number of other kinds of alcoholic beverage licenses that may be issued or held. Any applicant for a license would have to be approved by the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, and any individual applicant would have to be at least 21 years old and not have been convicted of a felony.
In issuing any licenses for food stores to sell wine, local licensing authorities would have to use the same procedures that apply to other licenses for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages. Except where the proposed law has different terms, the same laws that apply to issuance, renewal, suspension and termination of licenses for retail sales of alcoholic beverages which are not to be consumed on the seller’s premises, and that apply to the operations of holders of such licenses, would govern licenses to sell wine at food stores, and the operation of holders of such licenses. Local authorities could set fees for issuing and renewing such licenses.
The initiative was supported by the organization Grocery Stores and Consumers for Fair Competition. The organization argued that the law would "[b]ring Massachusetts up to date" and save consumers an estimated $26 to $36 million every year by allowing more competition and consumer choice in wine sales. According to the organization, other states allow grocery stores to sell wine "without any problems."
The initiative was opposed by a group called Wine Merchants and Concerned Citizens for S.A.F.E.T.Y. (Stop Alcohol's Further Extension to Youth), who argued that the new law would increase underage youth's access to alcohol. The group also claimed that "research demonstrates that more alcohol outlets inevitably leads to increases in drinking related problems, and drunk driving fatalities."
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