Oklahoma Wine Plan Draws Opposition

Merchants and anti-addiction groups oppose selling wine in state grocery stores

Groups protest the possibility of selling wine in Oklahoma grocery stores.

A group seeking to allow the sale of wine in Oklahoma grocery stores is facing staunch opposition from retail liquor merchants and anti-addiction groups as they petition for support. Oklahomans for Modern Laws filed a petition that seeks a statewide vote on the expansion of wine sales in the state.

Those opposing the move suggest that it is detrimental for people who are battling addiction. They claim it will make it more difficult for individual retail liquor merchants to operate with such competition. The move to offer wine in grocery stores is an attempt to make the product more accessible to consumers by offering it in both grocery stores and retail liquor stores.

“We’re not advocating a return to prohibition,” said Executive Director of Fighting Addiction Through Education, Jim Priest. But alcohol is already the most abused substance in the state and increasing the number of retail outlets will contribute to more abuse and underage drinking, Priest said in an interview with the Associated Press.

In order to have the issue placed on the November ballot, the group must collect over 155,000 signatures from registered voters. If the petition goes through, this will be the largest change to Oklahoma liquor laws since the repeal of Prohibition in 1959.