Why restrict the location of liquor sales?
Does it really matter where liquor is sold?
Some state lawmakers are pondering that exact question due to a bill in the state legislature.
Sen. Denise Grimsley, a Republican who represents Sebring, introduced a bill that would allow package stores — Wal-Mart and Target for example — to sell liquor.
Currently, stores must have a separate entrance to another building in order to legally sell liquor.
This law is the reason a store like Publix has separate locations for Publix Liquors, and Costco has its own separate liquor store.
One of the ideas behind the law as it currently stands is to limit availability of liquor to minors.
Opponents of liquor sales in stores say that youth would have easier access to drinking underage if the bill was to be passed.
Sure, more liquor might make it "more available." However, if cashiers followed the law of checking IDs, what is the difference?
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If a liquor store cashier can effectively check identification and not break the law by selling to youth, why can't a Wal-Mart cashier?
"This would allow access to underage employees, some as young as 16. Not smart to increase alcohol availability while the ranks of those charged to enforce alcohol regulations and prevent underage sales have been decimated," Bruce Grant, the director of the Florida Office of Drug Control, wrote in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Grant also points out that the motivation for the bill is money — because the passing of the bill would assuredly raise stores' profits. Likewise, consumers could benefit as well with the price of liquor to likely decrease due to increased availability.
But increased availability does not mean drinking underage would see a huge increase.
I've been to a local convenience store and had an underage employee tell me that he or she was unable to sell me alcohol because they weren't old enough.
Numerous establishments have these kinds of rules in place in order to protect a franchise from serving or selling alcohol to those not of legal age.
In restaurants across the country, servers bring beer, wine and cocktails to patrons daily. Many of those employees are under 21.
I have a hard time believing that those waiters and waitresses are a threat to public safety for handling alcohol as a part of their job.
It's not as if a minor just seeing liquor in a store is going to spark their desire to drink underage.
Increased availability of liquor in package stores is no more of a threat to public safety than selling cigarettes or other tobacco-based products in stores.
Ryan Gillespie is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @rgillespiecffor email him at RyanG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.