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Privatization of the Sale of Alcohol

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With Big Alcohol seeking to increase profit margins, across the U.S. powerful corporations and misguided politicians are promoting plans to eliminate state control of alcohol sales, promising better prices and selection in return for less alcohol regulation. As states become more desperate for revenue, a booming alcohol business could overshadow the protection of public health and economic stability.

Currently the biggest threats are efforts to privatize alcohol sales, in which control states would sell their liquor stores and distribution centers and license private businesses to sell alcohol. Selling the state’s assets and collecting license fees would generate a one-time cash windfall, an argument that proponents use to grow support for privatization in the present economic climate. Absent from their promises, however, are acknowledgements of the longer-term losses of annual income that states will experience and the significant threat of privatization to the public’s health and safety. Research shows that privatization will result in substantial harm to the public’s health and safety. States will experience higher economic costs stemming from increased outlet density, increased consumption, and increased alcohol-related injuries and violence.