-Coalition Supports Pro-Business, Less Regulatory Environment for Economic Development and Consumer Convenience-
(Tallahassee, Fla.) – A coalition of retailers is supporting a measure that is expected to be heard before the 2015 Legislative Session relating to Florida’s outdated and inconvenient alcohol separation law.
Floridians for Fair Business Practices (FFBP) encourages lawmakers to vote to repeal the current law, originally passed in 1935 after prohibition, which restricts consumer access to alcoholic beverages by requiring liquor to be sold in a location separate from groceries and other goods.
The House Business & Professions Subcommittee, scheduled to discuss issues relating to alcoholic beverages on Wednesday, Jan. 21, should take note of several relevant facts and statistics related to this issue, as well as examples of 34 states across the country who sell beer, wine and spirits in the same aisle without a separation requirement.
Less Regulation, More Competition – The current law limits free market competition, placing restrictions on small business. Once repealed, package liquor stores would be allowed to expand their sales offerings to include grocery items. Independent stores would be on a level playing field with other grocers, convenience stores and drugstores in competing for customers and price offerings.
Business leaders looking to relocate their company report one of the main reasons in choosing a location is its business friendly environment – less regulation, less bureaucracy and common sense laws. Florida needs to repeal this archaic, prohibition-era law to encourage job growth and economic prosperity.
Selling Adult Beverages Responsibly – Florida retailers take their responsibility seriously and remain committed to continuing strict enforcement policies and procedures relating to adult beverage compliance. This includes employee training and continued education, use of current technologies, adhering to restricted hours and strong identification policies.
Research supports the fact that minors will not have additional access to alcohol if the law is repealed. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, citing a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) study, reports that Arizona and California – states allowing the sale of wine and spirits in grocery stores – have seen declines in underage consumption and binge drinking over the last 5 years at 17 percent and 12 percent respectively.
In fact, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, of the majority of underage drinkers (ages 12-20), 60 percent report getting their alcohol from adults such as parents, guardians, other family members or unrelated adults (Figure 3.8). Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control’s 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that 40 percent of students who reported past-month consumption said that they usually obtained the alcohol they drank by someone giving it to them (page 19).
Retailers are not the only ones who believe Florida’s separation law is out-of-date. John Harris, former Director of Florida’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, supports FFBP’s efforts to repeal the state’s obsolete separation law that forces retailers and grocers to sell alcohol in a separate location from food, beer and wine.
“During my 28 year career with Florida’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, our office conducted sting operations on all types of licensed liquor establishments. I have seen firsthand that grocers and retailers have numerous safeguards in place to keep minors from accessing alcohol in their stores,” stated Harris.
About Floridians for Fair Business Practices
Floridians for Fair Business Practices is a coalition of retailers whose purpose is to identify rules and regulations which prohibit the growth and expansion of Florida business. For additional information, please go to www.FairBizinFlorida.com.