Montgomery County residents may soon be able to buy their alcohol in grocery stores as Delegate Eric Luedtke plans to introduce two new bills.
District 14 Maryland State Delegate Eric Luedtke plans to introduce two bills to the General Assembly — one would allow alcohol to be sold in grocery stores and the other would permit stores operated by the Department of Liquor Control to sell cold beer, wine, draft growlers and soft drinks.
Both bills will be introduced by the delegate as local bills. The state currently does not allow grocery stores to sell alcohol, and areas outside of Montgomery County would not be impacted by the legislation.
While residents frequently complain and have often expressed dissatisfaction of the county and state laws, Luedtke’s proposed bills have drawn criticism from beer and wine store owners who fear that the legislation would put them out of business. The store owners are likely to lobby lawmakers through the Maryland State Beverage Association against the second bill dubbed the MC 14-18 “Montgomery County Modernization Act of 2018.” The first bill is being introduced on neutral terms as grocery stores would not benefit from having county-run liquor stores within their stores under the bill dubbed MC 16-18.
The source of residents’ dissatisfaction stems from the fact that only hard alcohol can only be bought at county stores. As Luedtke’s proposed amendments wouldn’t be signed into law until next year, the Maryland General assembly has approved legislation, which allows privately owned stores to be issued licenses to sell liquor. However, no privately owned stores have yet to be licensed.
Public Hearings will be held in December before the Montgomery County Delegation. Should enough support be garnered for the two bills within the county, the bills must then gain majority support of the state legislature to move forward.
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