Alabama Alcohol Regulatory System Needs Reform

October 21
6:00 AM 2016

A family owned national liquor store chain, Total Wine and More, ignored Connecticut's minimum price law and advertised the lower prices. In turn, other stores announced similar discounts which upsets the state regulators. Chaos followed until the state reached a settlement where Total Wine agreed to pay the state $37,500 and immediately stop advertising and selling below the state minimum.

If the Alabama government set a price base for liquors, it will surely enrage the folks. This is an example of Alabama's obsolete alcohol regulatory system that really needs reform. It is clearly time to change Alabama's current alcohol regulations and laws.

Prohibitionist who lost the battle in banning alcohol proposed the minimum pricing laws in the 1930s. Alabama's ABC in fact uses a study - Toward Liquor Control that was first published in 1933 to defend heavy handed government social controls. The books was phased out for more than 50 years before re-releasing it in 2001 by the Center for Alcohol Policy.

Alcohol consumption is legal with the exception to minors to a certain age. Most of us is well informed on the impacts of alcohol especially in surplus. Even Alabama's ABC admits, "The public is well aware of the devastation heavy drinking entails."

Even if the public is perfectly fine with the social regulations that make alcohol artificially more costly, the public doesn't need the ABC's administration to create or enforce those laws.

At this point, there's literally nothing that the Alabama ABC can do. ABC doesn't even have control over its own law enforcement anymore. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) do the enforcing for them.

Most states don't have an ABC anymore, but in turn, they have plenty of laws and taxes limiting alcohol distribution, sale and consumption. Those states fare just fine with respect to the social harms Alabama's ABC supposedly protects against. There's reason to question whether if Alabama's is producing markedly better results over the states with no control policies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alabama's drunken driving fatality rate was 67 percent higher than the national average from 2003-2012. As early 2014, the CDC discovered that the highest alcohol-attributed death rate among the states related to excessive alcohol consumption.

Self-restraint should be personal responsibility, not government social controls. It is time for Alabama's governing body to give alcohol regulatory systems an immediate attention.

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