Residents in dry counties to vote on liquor laws

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CADDO COUNTY, Okla. – Oklahoma is still home to 14 dry counties, but that may change in two weeks when voters head to the polls.

If approved, liquor-by-the-drink and high-point beer could be served.

Caddo County is one of the places that will vote on this in two weeks.

Some restaurant owners in Anadarko say they have a ton of people drive through town, stop to eat and want a margarita, but they can’t get it.

They say business will be a night and day difference, if passed.

Since State Question 792 was approved by voters in 2016, all beer and wine across Oklahoma will be regulated the same.

That means, come October 1, people looking for a drink could potentially drive right past Joanna Munoz and her restaurant.

“A lot of people don’t realize it’s all or nothing here,” said Munoz, the owner of Munoz Mexican Restaurant. “You’re either going to get liquor with six-point beer or you get nothing. You won’t be able to buy any beer at all.”

Since 1959, liquor-by-the-drink sales have been in place since prohibition was repealed in Oklahoma.

However, if a new liquor-by-the-drink sales proposition passes, she believes this will keep people from leaving, bring in more business and attract more people to Anadarko and Caddo County.

“You have to think, this isn’t just for restaurant’s,” said Munoz. “We already have casinos here that will now have liquor by the drink. Hotels. New hotels will be coming which will bring outside people in. It will help with the rodeo, the fair, the parades, anything that goes on in town.”

Brent Fairchild, the Chief Agent of the Alcohol Beverage Law Enforcement Commission, encourages voters to think about the pros and cons.

“Most of your counties like these 14 have been kind of quiet about the liquor law changes,” said Fairchild. “Obviously they didn’t vote for liquor-by-the-drink previously, so it was kind of one of those things that was pretty much always quiet in their counties and so this is going to be a big change.”

But, Munoz is hoping election day will bring opportunity to her business and community.

“You can already see a lot of changes going on in this town and this is just going to encourage it more and go up from there,” said Munoz.

This will be on the June 26 ballot.

If it passes, the changes go into effect on October 1.

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