OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In a matter of weeks, voters in several counties will decide whether or not they want liquor stores to be open on Sundays.
Voters in Cleveland, Creek, Kingfisher, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Washington counties will head to the polls on March 3 to decide if liquor stores should be allowed to stay open on Sundays.
The proposals come more than three years after voters approved changes in statewide liquor laws allowing strong beer and wine to be sold in grocery stores.
Supporters of the measure say it would make liquor stores competitive with grocery stores.
“The beer and alcohol modernization efforts passed by voters in 2016 were always meant as a way to alleviate restrictions on both businesses and consumers,” said Lisette Barnes, president of the Oklahoma Beer Alliance. “This option for counties to decide on their own whether to open on Sundays was an additional bill signed in 2017, and provides the opportunity for liquor stores to compete with beer and wine sales on Sundays when other grocery and convenience stores are operating.”
However, not everyone supports the measure.
Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan wrote in a letter to The Oklahoman that he doesn't want to continue to make the Sooner State an "addict's paradise."
In the letter, Maughan says studies show that alcohol-related crashes increased on Sundays after New Mexico allowed liquor stores to stay open on Sundays.
"Oklahoma recently successfully sued large drug makers for their role in causing opioid addiction. At the same time, we have been consistently pushing the availability of alcohol and marijuana, both of which have addictive potential, and the first of which is by far the most widely abused and harmful addictive chemical in our society.
An observer would be justified in asking how serious we really are about curbing the devastating impact of addiction," Maughan wrote.
If voters approve the measures, each individual liquor store will have the option to open on Sunday or not.