Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Liquor Control Board seeks comments on responsible vendor program

From the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking

Last fall Washington voters passed Initiative 1183. Among other things, it privatizes Washington’s hard liquor distribution and sales system. Currently the WA State Liquor Control Board is developing new guidelines and procedures which will help govern implementation of I-1183. Here are responses to key questions.

Will we have more outlets selling spirits (hard liquor)?
It’s very likely there will be a significant increase in stores selling hard liquor. Your local Walmart, Safeway, or any other large outlet (over 10,000 sq. ft.) can apply for a retail spirits license. If there are no stores that large in your area, smaller stores may apply for a license to sell hard liquor.

Will it be easier for young people to get alcohol in stores?
Currently there is no requirement about training clerks to check ID. More than 95% of Washington’s state liquor stores passed liquor sales compliance checks. The rate in non-state stores was less than 80%.

Will there be more Liquor Control Officers enforcing liquor laws?
No, the Initiative does not require the addition of enforcement officers to deal with the increased number of sales outlets. Your local city or county will receive additional funds for public safety but they are not required to use those funds for enforcement of liquor laws and regulations.

Will the hours for selling alcohol be increased?
We don’t know. The Initiative requires the Liquor Control Board to develop a Responsible Vendor Program. That program can include standardized sale hours and require training of all employees. The LCB is soliciting comment now.

How can I provide my input to the Liquor Control Board about the Responsible Vendor Program?
The Liquor Control is taking comment on the new rules now. To comment, send an email with your recommendations about training criteria, standardized store hours, location of spirits products, and other concerns to rules@liq.wa.gov. Make sure to type Responsible Vendor Program in the subject line of your email.

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