Renewed Push To Change Oklahoma Liquor Law

Thursday, February 4th 2016, 4:53 pm
By: Grant Hermes

It's been a fight across the aisles at both at the Capitol and in the grocery stores for nearly a decade. But one group is pushing to remove the state’s alcohol by volume law to “modernize Oklahoma.”

“We're really going to get it done this time,” Brian Howe said.

Howe heads the Oklahomans for Modern Laws lobbying group. OML is the group behind proposed ballot question 738. The question is currently waiting to be challenged before it can be released for signatures.

“Throughout the years we've done polling data and the favorability has just substantially moved in favor of this issue,” Howe said. “We just think this kind of convenience that the people of Oklahoma want.”

The proposal would allow beer and wine up to 8.9 percent ABV to be sold in grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores. It would also create a new liquor license for store owners and a new tax on alcohol.

But because the state’s liquor laws are a part of the constitution, changing them would require an affirmative vote from the people. The measure has come up numerous times in past years and failed.

Opponents say raising the alcohol content could lead to more drinking and driving and it will hurt small businesses by sending customers to big box stores.

“I don't think it would be a problem. I mean what's the difference between three-two and eight-nine?” Nick Levin asked while shopping for food at Crest in Edmond for this weekend’s Super Bowl.

“I mean, if you're going to drink too much, you're going to drink too much, whether it's low point or high point.”

OML will need 123,000 signatures, according to Howe, for the question to appear on the ballot in November.