Liquor Stores Have Law on Their Side

Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork explains why law enforcement officials opposion the loosening of liquor laws. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork explains why law enforcement officials opposion the loosening of liquor laws. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Many of the state’s police chiefs and sheriffs oppose wine being sold in grocery stores and corner markets. They say they have enough alcohol-related incidents as it is.

Perceived momentum to loosen Tennessee’s liquor laws has interest groups on the offensive. They include the state’s 600 liquor stores, who don’t want the increased competition. Liquor lobbyists also helped organize a coalition of likeminded law enforcement officials.

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch says alcohol already causes widespread problems. He gives the example of a UT frat party where a student nearly died from ingesting boxed wine through his rectum, known as “butt chugging.”

“I was asked, ‘well they got it from a liquor store?’ Well yeah, but if you’re going to make it even more accessible, that incident is not going to be isolated.”

Expanding wine sales could push the number of stores selling high-proof alcohol to more than 5,000, nearly a 10-fold increase. However, there are several proposals floating around the legislature. One would allow each community to opt in.

A hundred police chiefs and sheriffs have signed a pledge opposing wine in grocery stores, but not Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall or Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson.

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