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System of state control over liquor sales is ine?cient, prone to corruption; privatization is the solution

The state of North Carolina should put the sale and distribution of liquor in the hands of the private sector.

North Carolina is one of 18 “control states,” jurisdictions that directly control the sale and distribution of alcohol.

In North Carolina, local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards manage the production and sale of liquor within the state.

But some of these boards have recently come under heat for unscrupulous practices.

Members of the ABC board in New Hanover County resigned after coming under pressure for inflated salaries.

Late last year, the Mecklenburg County board was accused of violating state law by accepting gifts from a liquor company.

In response to these actions, the state ABC commission is considering reforms that include privatizing the sale of liquor.

By eliminating the state monopoly on liquor, North Carolina’s liquor industry could become more efficient.

The bureaucracy is simply too cumbersome and the possibility of corruption too great to justify itself.

Moving to a market-based system would help solve this problem.

Pryor Gibson, ABC committee vice chairman for the N.C. General Assembly, has said that the sheer size of the bureaucracy is its biggest problem.

As it stands, more than 160 individual local boards operate a total of 411 liquor stores.

Further, the monopolization of the distribution and sale of liquor by the state is no more than a puritanical remnant of prohibition-era policies that have little relevance to the present.

North Carolina should withdraw from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association and leave the sale and distribution of liquor to the private sector.

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