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Packies sue over Cumbies booze ballot question

Massachusetts Beverage Business reports that a group representing the state's package stores is suing to block a proposed 2020 referendum that would let convenience-store chains, specifically Cumberland Farms, own as many liquor licenses as they want.

The plaintiffs, led by Sav-Mor Liquors Benjamin Weiner, said AG Maura Healey blew it by approving the measure, in part because it asks voters to do four separate things and the state constitution only allows ballot questions to ask voters to do just one thing at a time.



With the arcane rules of liquor distribution in this state. We finally got a hands free rule for cell usage. Hopefully it helps a little. Now let's move on to the 21st century with our stupid prohibition era liquor laws.

For the love of God, a chocolate shop in Vegas told me there were restrictions on shipping their stuff to Mass because they had liquor in them!


Removing the ban on Happy Hour was on a ballot.


Happy Hour does exist in MA - but with discounts on food rather than drinks. I actually prefer that approach.

Happy Hour does exist in MA - but with discounts on food rather than drinks.

That's not Happy Hour.

I'm all for any establishment discounting whatever they hell they want-- food beverages, legal pot, etc.-- whenever they want. With the possible exception of Loss Leaders.

Which brings me to something that bothers me much more than our continued outlawing of happy hour: liquor stores are not allowed to put anything on sale, unless that 'sale' price lasts something like a full month or so. That is really wrong, especially for beer sales. Beer has an expiration date. Let's say a liquor store has a pallet or two of (inside suddenly less-trendy brand name here) beer in the stockroom, whose Best By date is coming up in a few weeks. The merchant is not allowed to discount the price to move the! Instead they have to keep it at full price and throw out the expired unsold product.

I couldn't agree with Stevil more on this one. It's bad enough that we need a ballot measure to try and loosen one of these arcane laws, and it's absurd (though predictable) that the packie lobby is suing to try and prevent the process.


but the Christy Mihos story was something out of a Coen brothers movie.

As cannabis retail stores begin operating, the concern is that "big cannabis" will run everything and the little guy will get shut out. They are trying, with unclear success, to make sure community-based pot stores are possible and the norm.

I would put forward that what we have now with the package stores is, for the most part, what people envision for pot stores. Things are not controlled by a few big corporations and there are lots of small stores, run by and serving their local communities.

There are lots of things that are totally screwed-up with Mass liquor laws, but keeping a limit on how many stores one entity can run is not one of them.


The booze industry is already controlled by "a few big corporations" - InBev, Diageo, etc. A mom-and-pop liquor store doesn't have the clout to negotiate good prices or volume discounts. Big chains do, which means lower prices for the consumer.

If mom-and-pop can provide better service, selection, etc, good for them. But let the consumer decide, not the state regulators.


This question was on the ballot a few years ago and it lost by a sizable margin. The problem is with the distributors in MA, not the retail shops.

The booze industry is already controlled by "a few big corporations" - InBev, Diageo, etc.

The retail operations are not. There is a limit to how many stores one owner can have. It used to be 3, but I think it got increased to 5 or so. (Not sure of the exact number.) Call it protectionism but I like that there are several local shops near me, rather than having to drive to Natick to go to Total Wine because all the locals have been put out of business. THAT'S what I call consumer choice.

Grew up in NY where they sell beer at every corner deli, convenience store etc. I think many have added wine. But even in the little town I grew up in there is still a liquor store or two.

And think about it - easy enough to drive across the border to NH to get your fix if you really need cheap liquor and they haven't put all the local packies out of biz, even in the north country.

Might change where you shop - but you'll always have a local shop or two if you prefer.

As you say, even CVS sells beer in NY. However, the difference between Mass and NY is that hard liquor and wine are only sold in liquor stores. As such, you do end up with beer everywhere, but there is still demand for one or two local liquor stores.

Restricting numbers of chain establishments to look out for mom and pop? Great! but don't stop at liquor stores.

Limit the number of chain supermarkets, gas stations, fast food joints, COFFEE SHOPS, everything.

I think the current limitations on ownership probably contribute to support for the status quo with the broken licensing system -- it protects owners from having to compete (as much) with deeper pockets.

Any changes to the system are going to hurt the beneficiaries of status quo -- best to just acknowledge this and rip the band aid off ASAP.

are a type of state sanctioned Monopoly? Why does this shit still going on at the end of the second decade of the 21st century? Why do asult citizens acquiesce to being treated like children? And the same applies to the vaping and menthol cigarette bans. They won't stop with alcohol, Vapes, and menthol flavored tobacco. Each success at banning feeds the banning-obsessed.

on legal grounds BEFORE the election happens than have the results of the question invalidated after the election based on those same legal grounds.


Maybe we should save the local package store from the convenience store chains and let them sell pot too. They clearly can ID someone as effectively as needed

If the question is legal and subsequently passes, then the sale of beer and wine should automatically be extended to all supermarkets in Massachusetts.

Convenience stores (for the most part) sell the same items as a supermarket.


I dont see why the NH model can't be used, but with liquor staying at the "packies" and beer and wine at supermarkets.

is this such a MA headline or would it be such a New England headline? Packies and Cumbies. Only in MA or other NE states, too?