Massachusetts C-Stores Qualify for Liquor Permits

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Massachusetts C-Stores Qualify for Liquor Permits

BOSTON -- Ballot Question One in November's election will allow convenience stores to sell alcohol, according to Boston city councilor Michael Ross, who recently visited a Kenmore Square Store 24 to prove that it, and many other convenience stores like it, will have that opportunity if the bill is passed.

The state food association -- which drafted the language of the bill and has invested millions to pass the proposal -- claims, however, that the new liquor license only applies to grocery stores despite evidence that it will have a wider scope.

According to its language, the bill will allow stores that sell products "typically found in a grocery store" to sell alcohol. Among items the bill names as a checklist for eligibility are: fresh or processed meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, fresh fruit and produce, baked goods and baking ingredients, canned goods and dessert items.

"It's undeniable," said Ross, who is also a member of the Vote No on Question One Committee and an opponent of the measure. "Based on the text of the bill ... this convenience store, located in the heart of a neighborhood that contains one of Boston's most concentrated student populations, would easily qualify for one of these new licenses."

The ballot proposal, if passed, will increase the number of licenses in the state by almost 3,000, nearly doubling the number of current licenses.

Residents will vote next month on the proposal, which gives each city in the state the job of licensing the stores and allows at least five stores to be licensed and an additional license for every 5,000 residents.

Supporters believe that it will add to the convenience of one-stop-shopping, allowing customers to pick up their favorite varieties the same place they fill up.

Opponents -- including liquor stores -- believe it would increase underage access to alcohol and double the number of stores that can also sell beer and hard liquor, making enforcement of liquor laws more difficult.