Proposal would allow Oklahoma grocery stores to legally sell wine

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

DURANT, OKLAHOMA -- A proposal to allow some Oklahoma grocery stores to sell wine is in the hands of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Justices heard arguments this morning on that Initiative Petition.

The people behind the petition are with Oklahomans for Modern Laws. They say their goal is to get the petition on the November 2012 ballot, so Oklahoma voters can decide if they want wine in their grocery stores.

In Durant, local liquor and grocery store owners voice different opinions on the matter.

"We know it would benefit us," Green Spray grocery store owner Randy Sullivan said.

"It would hurt my sales a lot," Discount Liquor co-owner Rhonda Pierce said.

Green Spray grocery store owner Randy Sullivan and Discount Liquor co-owner Rhonda Pierce disagree. They're on opposite ends of the spectrum about the petition that would allow some Oklahoma grocery stores to legally sell wine.

"Being in a grocery store would make it easier for customers to get.," Sullivan said.

"Do a lot of people that come in here buy wine?" reporter Allison Harris said. "Yes, they do," Pierce said. "What percentage?" I would say probably 40 percent.

Sullivan says he understands why a liquor store owner wouldn't support the petition.

"That's going to take a substantial business dollar away from them," Sullivan said.

But there's one thing they do agree on. The way the petition is written now, only grocery stores with at least 25,000 square feet could get a grocery wine license, meaning that grocers like Green Spray wouldn't qualify, but big-box retailers would.

"When you cut out the little man, you're doing a lot more damage than you are good," Pierce said.

But neither Pierce nor Sullivan need to worry about it now. The petition also only allows counties with more than 50,000 residents to qualify, meaning Durant doesn't make the cut. Fifteen Oklahoma counties meet that standard.

Sullivan and Pierce are unsure if the petition will even pass.

"Oklahoma, being a conservative state, that's, I mean, it's just to be expected," Sullivan said.

"We are part of the Bible belt. A lot of people do not want their children exposed to it," Pierce said.

In Durant, Allison Harris, First News.


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