Oklahoma Tables Plan to Revise Alcohol Laws

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.— A bill that would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell strong beer and wine is being put on hold while a task force studies the issue, according to the AP.

Republican state Sen. Clark Jolley’s bill would create a 13-member task force that would help draft a proposal to be presented to the Legislature next year. The sale of strong beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores is supported by chambers of commerce and consumer groups who say Oklahoma's alcohol laws are antiquated. Opponents include alcohol retailers and distributors who say their business models depend on existing state alcohol laws.

Currently, grocery and convenience stores only can sell low-point beer; liquor retailers only can sell nonrefrigerated wine; liquor and beer and consumers cannot receive direct shipments of wine from wineries or other businesses. The proposals require changes to the Oklahoma Constitution, which requires a vote of the people.

More than a dozen bills dealing with alcohol laws have been filed for consideration this year, according to AP.

Several state alcohol retailers and distributors say the proposed changes give an unfair advantage to out-of-state corporations and put local businesses at risk.

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