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New Colorado Liquor Bill May Not Affect Rural Grocery Stores

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A bill to allow Colorado grocery stores to sell full-strength beer and wine might have little effect in rural areas. The bill, which has not been signed by Governor John Hickenlooper, would allow grocery stores statewide to phase in beer and wine sales over a 20-year period. Groceries in small towns that have two or more existing liquor stores within 3,000 feet of their front entrances could only obtain a liquor license if they buy out those stores.

Pete Loyd, the owner of P & D Grocery in Mancos, told KSJD that two liquor stores in town are enough, and that he wouldn’t plan to stock liquor at his store. Taz Vass, the owner of Dolores Food Market, agreed, adding that he supported local control over liquor laws and also didn’t want to be restricted to hiring people over age 21.

Georgie Aguirre, a spokesperson for Your Choice Colorado, the advocacy group that represents large grocery store chains such as City Market in Cortez, says that the bill is complex, was passed too quickly and didn't give Colorado voters enough say in the issue. She says that her group has collected enough signatures to get a different measure on the ballot in November, and would consider legal challenges if the bill is signed.

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