It’s no surprise that people in Washington state want liquor reform and the privatization of liquor sales, and that is made evident with the support of two initiatives, Costco backed Initiative 1100 and Initiative 1105, both of which failed last year with 53% and 65% of voters voting against them, but with how close I-1100 was is proof that people are tired of the monopoly that the Washington State Liquor Control Board has on liquor within the state. Even with people being tired of that monopoly and wanting privatization, many didn’t agree with the manner in which I-1100 and I-1105 proposed it be done, which is why it may not have passed. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire herself was opposed to both I-1100 and I-1105, but she went on to say “Do I think that we should reform liquor? Yes. And I would expect the legislature to pick up where the voters left off and still do something important in that area.”
With that said, sponsors for Initiative 1183 announced today that they estimated they turned in nearly 350,000 signatures to qualify the the new liquor privatization initiative for the November ballot. According to The Seattle Times, “I-1183 would close state liquor stores and sell their assets, including the liquor-distribution center. It would allow private stores to sell liquor and create licensing fees for sale and distribution of liquor based on sales revenues. Costco is the main backer, providing most of the more than $950,000 in cash and in-kind contributions raised so far.” Like last year’s Costco Wholesale Corp. backed I-1100, Costco is promoting I-1183 along with the Washington Restaurant Association, the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Retail Association.
As with last year, a group called Protect Our Communities will campaign against the measure and they will use scare tactics and false figures of how readily attainable hard liquor will be for minors and the increased amount of drunk drivers on the road. I’m already looking forward to their campaigns …
Mutineer will be watching this one with interest. Stay tuned.