Our nation’s relationship with regulations involves a careful balance of competing interests – demand for convenient, easy access to goods and services alongside the need for public safety. This dynamic affects every aspect of modern life, including oversight of retail alcohol sales.
For decades, Bay State officials have enforced laws and regulations that control the sale of beer, wine and spirits while diminishing undesirable effects caused by over-consumption. This strong regulatory approach has helped Massachusetts post the second-best record for driving under the influence and the lowest death rate for fatalities resulting from DUI, and according to the National Highway Transportation Administration.
Communities such as those in the Merrimack Valley, it appears, approve reasonable limits on retail package store licenses, mandatory minimum prices for alcoholic beverages, and prohibitions on discounts for bulk purchases of alcohol.
This is confirmed by the results of a recent national poll commissioned by the Center for Alcohol Policy, which shows that a sizable majority oppose inexpensive alcoholic beverages in their local communities and support stronger controls on products of high alcohol content.
Those surveyed also said that states get it right when it comes to alcohol regulation, with 81 percent in support of the so-called three-tiered license system – producers, distributors, retailers – that has been in place here in the commonwealth since the end of Prohibition.
A majority of respondents spoke out against “bargain tactics” such as below-cost sale of loss-leader products, while supporting limits on ownership of retail package stores because they see the impacts associated with mass marketing of adult beverages.