Washington State Voters Approve Law To Privatize Liquor Sales

SEATTLE, Wash. - No doubt about it: When it comes to liquor sales in Washington, voters wanted a change, giving Initiative 1883 a resounding victory with 60-percent of the vote, siding with Costco in the costliest initiative campaign in state history.

The passage of I-1183 means that all state-run liquor stores will be shut down and their assets sold off. There are 310 state-run liquor stores and in the coming months the state will shut them all down.

One privately-run state liquor store owner, Cal Farrer, said the alcohol will be collected and eventually auctioned off.

Janell and Cal Farrer contract out with the state and have run a liquor store for four years in Liberty Lake. They're upset Costco was able to back another privatize initiative after the last two failed in the state.

"It really irritates me that Costco is allowed to just keep coming at us, coming at us until finally they win and then they're going to put all of these people all of us, me included, going to be in the unemployment line," Cal Farrer said.

State Representative Kevin Parker supported I-1183 and was happy to see the wide victory margin. He expressed what many supporters gave as their reason for support which was that the state has no business selling alcohol.

"My support of 1183 came down to is being in the alcohol business a core function of state government or should the core function of state government be more about the most vulnerable education and public safety," Parker said.

Following the initiative's victory, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire issued a statement expressing concern about the consequences of its passage.

?The voters have spoken. I remain concerned about Initiative 1183?s unintended consequences. This initiative expands the sale of liquor, which can present risks to our public safety. Additionally, we know that Washington has one of the nation?s highest ?no sales to minors? compliance rates at 95 percent ? compared to the private sector, which has a 76 percent compliance rate. We must closely monitor the implementation of Initiative 1183 and work to avoid any unintended public safety risks,? Gregoire said.

Now that I-1183 is officially passed by 60-percent of the vote you will in the months to come see alcohol on the shelves of Costco and other stores over 10,000 square feet. Some mini-marts will be allowed to sell alcohol as well.