Kansas liquor laws | KCUR

Kansas liquor laws

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With tax talks stalled, the Kansas Senate spent more than an hour Thursday debating whether to expand full-strength beer sales beyond liquor stores.

The proposal, part of a long line of attempts to loosen liquor stores’ exclusive right  to sell all alcoholic products except 3.2 percent beer, failed 11-26.

Just before the Senate debated the alcohol measure, the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee shot down the latest proposal that could close a $430 million budget deficit and end the session.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Retired grocery store executive David Dillon had a simple answer Wednesday to concerns that allowing stores like his to sell full-strength liquor would increase underage drinking.

“Hogwash,” Dillon said.

Dillon is the former chief executive of Kroger, owner of the Dillons franchise of Kansas grocery stores and one of the nation’s largest retailers.

He told the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee that Kroger’s Kansas stores already safely sell other restricted products like pharmaceuticals, tobacco and low-strength beer.

Matteo Paciotti / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Expanding liquor sales to grocery and convenience stores in Kansas could lead to more underage drinking, according to a new report from the Kansas Health Institute.

The report, called a health impact assessment, is designed to give policymakers information about the potential health consequences of expanded liquor sales.

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A proposed change to Kansas alcohol laws would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and liquor. Currently, wine and spirits are only available at dedicated liquor stores.

A Kansas House committee heard from supporters and opponents of the bill Thursday.  The committee room was packed with people interested in the bill.

Jon McCormick, with the Kansas Food Dealers Association told  legislators that current laws cause some Kansans to drive across the state line to buy alcohol. He says the current system creates inconvenience for Kansans and raises liquor costs.