Steve Leader contributed to this story
VANCOUVER – The Northwest Grocery Association filed petitions on Tuesday to follow in Washington’s footsteps and privatize liquor sales, but the state says not so fast to their neighbor to the south.
Washington is urging Oregon to wait. Now that they’re selling the hard stuff, liquor theft is quite a problem in the state.
“The industry is telling us it’s their number-one loss related to organized retail crimes,” says Mitch Barker with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
Washington voted to privatize liquor in 2011 so shoppers could buy booze in grocery stores.
Barker added: “I would certainly caution other states to take a hard look at us. Give us time to show how this might work before they jump into it.”
He says they’re being stonewalled by retailers who don’t want to provide the numbers on how much liquor is walking out the door to thieves. Police want that data to help them work with stores on securing their spirits.
The number of stores selling liquor in the state has tripled from 300 to 1,500 since June of 2012 when the law took effect. The Seattle Times found that the price of a fifth has gone up about $3.
Oregon is eyeing a ballot measure next year. The NGA has argued that it’s unfair for the state to have a monopoly on the liquor business. Some liquor store owners are concerned that privatizing booze could hurt craft distilleries.
Photo Courtesy: Associated Press