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I do not own a liquor store, and I would still be able to buy hard alcohol under either a control system like Oregon currently has, or a privatized system, but I support the current state-run model in Oregon and would not want to see it privatized.
The OLCC serves two significant yet distinct functions. One is to sell alcohol through liquor stores, bars and other outlets. The second (and, in my view, equally important) function is enforcement of alcohol laws and rules. OLCC works with the Oregon State Police and local law enforcement agencies to monitor and fine stores that sell alcohol to minors and bars and restaurants that sell alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons. If we privatize or abolish OLCC, which agency becomes responsible for ensuring that appropriate alcohol laws are enforced? Who will license and train servers in bars? Who will be responsible for working with bars and restaurants whose patrons repeatedly cause problems to address those problems before businesses are shut down?
Alcohol is not a product like soap or toothpaste. It is a drug that, while legal for those over 21 to consume, can significantly impair cognitive functions. Numerous studies have also shown alcohol to have a dramatic effect on brain development in youth and young adults. This is one of the reasons why 21 is the legal drinking age in Oregon and all other states, and it is why it is wise to have a state agency dedicated to monitoring and enforcing responsible sales to legal purchasers.
Those who wish to buy alcohol when OLCC stores are closed can still buy a drink in bars and taverns at most hours of the night. And with Sunday sales and expanded hours at most OLCC stores, it is still relatively easy for a consumer to purchase bottles of hard alcohol at a time that is convenient in his or her schedule.
posted 2 years, 8 months ago
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