Everybody wins if state stores evolve into outlets for pot sales

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This is a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana, privatize and modernize the state’s liquor stores and sales, and liberalize and expand beer and malt beverage sales.

First, the state should close half of the current Wine & Spirits stores. Sell those liquor sale licenses to private business, with current beer distributors allowed to purchase licenses first. Establish restrictions to prevent major retailers from attaining monopolies. Half of the state stores will remain open to provide continuity and promote competition.

Second, liberalize beer laws. Allow grocery and big-box stores to sell six-packs and 12 packs. Allow convenience stores to sell six-packs and singles. Beer becomes available with fewer restrictions at more retailers, and beer distributors are not immediately put out of business by grocers and big-box retailers because they continue to sell beer as well as wine and liquor.

Finally, legalize recreational marijuana use and sales. Allow the state to have the monopoly. Convert the now unused Wine & Spirits stores into state-run marijuana dispensaries. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board already has a knowledgeable work force capable of enforcing the strict laws necessary for responsible recreational marijuana use, an extensive distribution network and decades of experience selling a controlled substance. The LCB employees retain their jobs and pensions while consumers are once again provided more choices in where to spend their money.

Everyone, especially consumers, wins with this proposal.

MARK HENSLER
Industry


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