A judge in Oklahoma rejected a legal challenge today filed by state liquor stores to stop a newly approved measure that allows Oklahoma grocery and convenience stores to sell liquor and cold beer of any ABV.
State residents last November approved the law, State Question 792, by ballot. The new rules will go into effect in 2018, having passed with 65% of the vote.
The Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma, which represents liquor store owners, filed a lawsuit challenging the law the month after it passed. They argued that the SQ792 was unconstitutional, as it did not guarantee equal protection for all under the law, violating the 14th amendment. The law permits grocery and convenience stores to have any number of locations that sell beer and wine, while state rules permit liquor stores just two.
The judge did not find SQ792 unconstitutional. She pointed out that nearly half of the U.S. states regulate beer and wine in a different manner than spirits.
What this means for the future of alcohol retail remains to be seen, especially in light of Amazon’s recent, ominous purchase of Whole Foods.