Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again. Time to dust off the boxing gloves, choose sides and let the misinformation fly. Yes, it’s time for another round of the Oklahoma liquor laws debate.
Just 3 short years ago Oklahoma celebrated its centennial as a state. It was also a centennial for Oklahoma’s liquor laws. The bulk of these constitutional laws are 103 years old. Over the last decade, the debate for changing the laws have come and gone, and now they are back again. This time it seems with a little more force. The debate focuses on strong beer, and selling wine, liquor and beer in grocery stores.
Oklahoma’s liquor laws are strange. Sometimes it resembles the old west in the market place. Beer can be sold cold in grocery and convenience stores if it’s 3.2%ABW. Anything over 3.2% is considered liquor, and can only be sold in liquor stores with wine and spirits. It can only be sold warm. Beer, wine and spirits can only be sold to liquor stores by wholesalers. Spirits, wine and beer representatives can’t sell directly to retailers. Meaning that said liquor and beer is handled by a 3rdparty. Quality control is lost and pricing increases.
The for-side of this debate rallies around the cause that our laws send the wrong message to people and companies outside our state. They claim Oklahoma is losing business to national chains that won’t open stores here due to our current laws. A change in the laws may bring new and well-known breweries to the state that aren’t here now because of current laws. It could also bring lower prices to consumers and more sales tax to the state’s coffers.
The against-side uses the message of lost local business. They state that a change could lead to mass closings of liquor stores that couldn’t compete with grocery stores selling strong beer, wine and spirits. A loss of selection, easier access to minors and more places to monitor the sale of alcohol with less people to do so are other main points for their arguments.
A good solid debate should focus on using equal parts of logos, pathos and ethos. Unfortunately, both sides don’t. They will spout whatever they feel will aid in their victory. That’s just the nature of politics today. You’re only as good as your last sound bite, that’s why it’s import that the people of Oklahoma do research and form their own independent thoughts to this debate. Because if laws are to change it will go to the vote of the people. There are positive aspects to both sides of the debate. Would a change in the current laws really do good? Is keeping the laws in its current form really hurting anything?
If this debate heats up more this year, and I think it will, the people of Oklahoma will have a hard choice to make. There are many, many, many sides in this fight that have separate agendas to further their own causes on both sides. Leave some comments, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter and see what you think about this debate.