Oklahoma is currently one of 16 states that do not allow wine to be sold in grocery stores, a law that some think should change in order to bring hundreds of new jobs to the state. Costco, one of the country’s largest retailers, operates over 400 stores, none of which are located in Oklahoma. The company has said that is could open 6 to 10 stores there in the next three years, if the state’s liquor laws are changed. The ability to sell wine is very important to the wholesaler, who claims to be the no. 1 seller of premium wine in the world.

There is a proposal on the table to bring this issue to the voters via a ballot initiative in the November 2012 election. The initiative could be for a law that permits grocery and convenience stores to sell wine, or just grocery stores, or limit those choices even further.  There is also still discussion over whether to include wine and strong beer or just wine. Opponents say it will put independent liquor stores in the state out of business, and that increased access to alcohol increases the likelihood of abuse.  A bill was proposed during the state’s last legislative session that would have allowed stronger beer and wine to be sold in grocery stores, however, that bill was rewritten to create a legislative task force to study the issue. The revised bill passed, and that task force is currently being formed, and has been asked to deliver its findings by next February.

The ABLE Commission is the Oklahoma agency charged with enforcing the state’s liquor laws; information on changes in the law as they occur are made available on their website.


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