A statewide measure to allow Colorado liquor license holders the ability to expand the number of storefronts they can operate was trailing Tuesday night after the initial batches of vote were counted.
More than 1.1 million votes had been tabulated as of 8 p.m. — with 61% of voters rejecting Proposition 124, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Nearly 39% of ballots have been cast favoring the measure.
Current law says stores can have three locations. Proposition 24 would expand that to eight by 2026 and eventually end the limit altogether in 2037.
It’s one of three measures on this year’s ballot that could determine how and where Coloradans can purchase alcohol. And the battle over booze has drawn significant money from large corporations looking to tip the scales in their favor.
In essence, the fight over alcohol has turned into a referendum on big corporations vs. mom-and-pop stores.
In addition to Proposition 124, the other measures asked voters whether grocery and convenience stores should be allowed to sell wine (Proposition 125) and whether to allow third-party companies (like Instacart and DoorDash) to deliver beverages to your home (Proposition 126).
Proponents argue the existing alcohol laws favor mammoth chains like Walmart, Target and Costco by letting those companies operate more than twice the licenses (eight) as local liquor stores (three).
“The way Colorado’s liquor laws are written, it’s merely a matter of time until the supermarkets and big-box chains dominate the landscape and become the only game in town — rendering the selection and expertise of local liquor stores a thing of the past,” the “Yes on 124” campaign argued in its materials.
Opponents blasted these arguments as “blatant mistruths,” saying small, locally owned liquor stores would be in big trouble if this measure passed.
“Particularly with 124, they say these will help small business and promote craft beers, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth,” Carolyn Joy, the owner of Joy Wine and Spirits, said in a statement before the election. “I speak for many of the 1,600 locally owned liquor stores who will be swallowed up by these large out-of-state corporations like Amazon and DoorDash. They are trying to buy Colorado votes with lies and distortions with nearly $20 million in spending.”
Source: Read Full Article