Private Liquor Looks Safe, After Judge Upholds Initiative

Private liquor is coming June 1 - affirms Judge.


Well, it continues to look like June 1 will be L-Day in Washington. Liquor privatization will go into effect in just over two months, thanks to the decision made by a Cowlitz County Superior Court judge this week.


A few months back I discussed two lawsuits that had been filed by public interest groups who opposed the 2011 passage of I-1183. But in January, a judge sided with proponents who wanted to intervene in one of the actions, adding much needed support for the I-1183 team.


Now it appears that implementation will go into effect on time, thanks to yesterday’s Cowlitz County ruling. Judge Stephen Warning had previously decided that the Initiative embraced two separate subjects, in violation of the state constitution. The concepts of regulating both alcohol and public safety were initially deemed separate, but Judge Warning reversed his stance to say that he was wrong and that the two have long been intrinsically intertwined.


In offering his new opinion, Judge Warning grants the State’s Motion for Summary Judgment. This means that private liquor will continue on towards implementation in June. In the meantime, the Plaintiffs, Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, will appeal directly to the State Supreme Court.


While all of this was on-going, the state has already begun auctioning off its liquor stores. The auction will close on April 19, when they hope to have all vendors in place.


Stay tuned for more information on the impending appeal.



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