Legislators in Colorado are pushing ahead with a new pair of laws that will extend the relaxed restrictions on the sale of alcohol and expand how many retail locations a liquor license owner may operate. The new regulations are set to shake the foundations of the liquor industry in the centennial state and could invite further substance abuse.
Democrat State Senator Sen. Jeff Bridges is sponsoring both bills, the first bill House Bill 21-1027, will extend To-Go Alcohol sales. According to TheDenverChannel.com “Colorado consumers like this,” Bridges said. “I’ve heard from people who say, ‘I just don’t make a margarita as well as my local Mexican food place makes that margarita.’”
The Second bill Senate Bill 20-213 allows liquor store owners to open multiple locations. Colorado law dating back to prohibition days has limited all owners to operating only one location. Bridges told TheDenverChannel, “the new law would allow them up to five stores this year, eight next year and no limits by 2037, just like grocery stores and big box retailers.”
“It’s giving Colorado entrepreneurs the ability to compete,” Bridges said. “Which they don’t have right now. And the ability to compete against giant big box stores, like Walmart. We’re leveling the playing field.”
Concerns of Increased Alcohol Abuse
Many are expressing concerns about easing the purchase (and abuse) of alcohol while Democrat leaders still cling desperately to COVID19 restrictions. A Harvard study citing the RAND Corporation stated,
“during the pandemic women have increased their heavy drinking days by 41% compared to before the pandemic. Additional research has shown that the psychological stress related to COVID-19 was associated with greater drinking for women, but not men.”
There are quite literally hundreds of articles currently in circulation about increased drinking during the pandemic, so is it truly beneficial that the liquor industry be invited to radically expand? Or would it make more sense to ‘ease’ the financial strain on restaurants and bars, which are the new bills’ stated goals, by releasing the COVID restrictions on Colorado businesses?!?! Like Florida, Texas and Arizona VERY successfully have.
Despite its’ bipartisan support the bills seem a shallow, albeit popular solution to a bigger problem. As if Colorado lawmakers are taking the stance that their state has unfortunately come to be known for since the legalization of marijuana. It’s easier to give the masses more proverbial opiates than it is to solve the more complex underlying problems.