After a tireless campaign by both the FOR and AGAINST Washington’s Initiative 1183, Washington voters ultimately decided the fate of state run liquor stores with about 60% of them voting in favor to giving them the boot. Starting June 1, Costco and other stores will begin liquor sales as Washington State liquor stores transition out of the business, a business they have held a monopoly on and which laws have been relatively untouched since 1969, and before that, in 1934.
The initiative, largely backed by Washington-based Costco, will allow private retailers to sell spirits and in the coming months the state Liquor Control Board will start to sell its inventory and the Seattle distribution center and state-run liquor stores will be auctioned off.
This isn’t the first time Washingtonians have reached for privatization of liquor sales. In 1972, voters barely defeated Initiative 261 which would have privatized liquor sales and closed state-run outlets. In 2010, Initiatives 1100 and 1105, which both called for privatization, were both defeated at the polls.