By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4)– As Colorado rolls out the biggest change in liquor laws since prohibition ended, some parents aren’t quite ready.
“You don’t want to overregulate but you don’t want do things later that make you say, ‘Darn, that was stupid,’” says Jacqui Shumway of Denver.
She’s among those pushing back against a law that allows full-strength beer and fermented malt beverages in hundreds of grocery stores and convenience stores starting Jan. 1, 2019. Under current law, 18-year-olds are allowed to sell beer at those locations.
“This is going allow 18-year-olds to sell and to make this choice for their “friends” that they know in neighborhood,” says Shumway.
But if a bill making its way through the legislature passes, smaller convenience stores would be shut out of alcohol sales, only 21-year-olds could sell and choice would be limited.
“Now we’re starting to deal with some of regulatory realities,” says Sen. Chris Holbert, a Republican representing Douglas County, the sponsor of the bill.
He says it’s about bringing parity to state laws. You already have to be 21 years old to sell in liquor stores in Colorado.
“Treat all of those businesses that are selling the same products, the same way,” said Holbert.
The bill would also require 20 percent of a store sales be food.
Grier Baily, head of the Convenience Store Association, says that would exclude 50 percent of convenience stores.
“That just don’t have the inside sales to meet that 20 percent threshold without drastically changing the inside sales model.”
Grocery stores would also be restricted in how much they could sell. The bill limits the shelf space stores can dedicate to beer.
“That’s going to cause more price less choice for consumers,” says John Brackney, a lobbyist for grocers, “We’re still messing with these stupid laws. It’s just beer. The grocery and convenience stores are also worried about raising the age to sell to 21, pointing out they employ a lot of 18, 19 and 20-year-olds. In most states, the age to sell is 15 to 18 years old.”
After hours of testimony on Monday, lawmakers delayed a vote.