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Oklahoma State Question 792 passes, changing state alcohol distribution laws

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State Question 792

Cases of beer line the shelves unrefrigerated at 9 East Liquor due to current Oklahoma legal restrictions on the sale of alcohol. State question 792 would permit the sale of strong beers and wine in grocery stores as well as refrigerated beer in liquor stores.

State Question 792, also known as the Oklahoma Regulations Governing the Sale of Wine and Beer Amendment, passed during the Nov. 8 general election. 

The amendment will go into effect Oct. 1, 2018, changing the state's current laws governing alcohol sales and distribution, specifically by allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer and wine — refrigerated and non-refrigerated — seven days a week. 

The legislature will still be permitted to impose certain restrictions and taxes. 

The proposed amendment, co-authored by Republican Sen. Clark Jolley, Republican Sen. Brian Bingman, Republican Sen. Stephanie Bice and Republican Rep. Glen Mulready, was highly debated in the months leading up to the election.

Jolley and Bice have publicly supported the proposal, saying it would allow Oklahomans to "keep their dollars at home" and that it would repeal "Prohibition-era laws."

Among those who opposed the proposal is Bryan Kerr, the owner of Moore Liquor and president of the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma. Kerr argued that, if implemented, the amendment would hurt small businesses. Others complained that the amendment would allow big corporations to monopolize the industry within the state.

This summer, the RLAO challenged the proposal legally by filing a lawsuit which claimed that the measure unconstitutionally favors grocery and convenience stores over liquor license holders. However, the lawsuit was thrown out less than one month later. 

A list of other organizations that supported and opposed State Question 792 can be found here

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