Christian Action League
May 19, 2015
Dear Friend of the Christian Action League,
Please let me have your utmost attention. I’ll be brief and to the point.
I recognize that alcohol legislation is not always high on people’s radar these days. There are so many other issues such as marriage, abortion, and religious freedom that grab all the headlines. I understand and agree that such issues are imperative and often should take priority. Nevertheless, alcohol policy deeply impacts public health and safety and needs a response too.
Right now, there is dangerous legislation, HB 909, in the NC Senate Commerce Committee which has a provision (Section 5) that would allow distilleries in our state to sell spirituous liquor at the distillery. If this legislation passes, it would grant authorization for the retail sales of spirituous liquor outside of our ABC stores – something never permitted in N.C. history.
Here are some problems with that provision in the bill:
- It would set a perilous precedent. The sale of spirituous liquor in ABC stores is a strict control and regulation setting for protecting the public’s health from problems related to alcohol use and abuse. Once one group is allowed to sell spirituous liquor retail, then the group provided with that privilege is likely to press for additional privileges in law later, as well as other groups that will begin pressuring lawmakers for the same privilege. Though its proponents may argue they aren’t asking for much, the precedent set would be like a chip in the windshield, slowly spreading and undermining Alcoholic Beverage Control’s regulation, and resulting in additional sales of liquor outside of ABC stores. That’s not good alcohol policy.
- Selling spirituous liquor outside of ABC stores is an affront to voters of alcohol elections. When people in North Carolina communities voted for the sale of spirituous liquor, they voted for it to be sold in an ABC store and not from a distillery. No community in North Carolina has ever approved the sale of spirituous liquor for any location other than an ABC store.
- Selling spirituous liquor outside of an ABC store undermines “control.” Distilleries across the Tar Heel state are not experienced with retail sales of alcoholic beverages. Moreover, North Carolinians have traditionally held that liquor products are potentially more problematic than beer and wine. Therefore, spirituous liquor sales are confined to ABC stores. This form of “regulation and control” avoids any promotion of liquor sales, encourages temperance, and best protects the public’s health against abuses of liquor.
Take Christian Action:
HB 909 will be heard in the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday at 11:00 am. If it passes in Commerce, it will then be referred to Finance, and, if it passes there, ultimately it will go to the Senate floor. Hence the need to contact your State Senator immediately!
Tell your State Senator that Section 5 of the bill needs to be amended out or the entire bill should fail.
If you don’t know who represents you in the State Senate, go to WRAL’s Find Your Lawmakers and type in your address.
Dr. Mark Creech