By DaKota Hilburn

Booze, hooch, liquor, fire water, brew, the hard stuff. Whatever you want to call it, alcohol has been a subject that is argued about time and again.

Alcohol sales have been disputed since the early 1880’s.

From 1920 to 1933, there was a national ban on the sale of alcohol, but now we have liquor stores from coast to coast.

But why should we only let the government decide where we buy our booze?

It’s about choice and it’s about convenience, according to Uncork Kansas, a group that is all about making liquor more readily available for Kansas consumers.

They claim it is to boost the economy, restrict minors instead of adults, and make the laws more modern.

Kayla Saens, Kingman, is just one of many students who feel like this is a bad idea.

“Retail stores get stolen from all the time,” Saens said. “It will give stores like Dillons bad publicity.”

Barb Clug, a secretary at the Science Hall, said “I don’t believe in putting it in grocery stores. It puts the small working man out of business.”

Clug also brought up a point some would not think about.

“What about the clerks and baggers who are under 21? Would there be a special line for buying alcohol?”

The Uncork website points out, “Uncork Kansas legislation will offer a level playing field for all types of retailers.”

Then you have the people who are for it, including Ryen Trost, McPherson, who said, “I had no idea there was a group pushing this, but I am for it.”

There are also some people who are not for it — but not against it, either.

Rachel Barlow, Inman, said, “I work at Dillons and we already sell some alcohol. I’m not necessarily opposed to it.”

As of now, Dillons and most other grocery and retail stores are only allowed to sell beer and beverages containing less than 3.2 percent alcohol.

Some are afraid that large grocery stores, such as Dillons, will sell the liquor closer to cost, making the mom and pop stores obsolete.

Uncork Kansas says the current law actually states that all wholesale liquor prices are the same and retailers can’t sell below that level.

“Competition is always good for the consumer, because it will force competitive pricing.”

“Liquor stores are free to price their products competitively as long as they do not sell below cost,” said a passage on the Uncork website.

Some fear that minors will be able to more easily acquire liquor if it is sold in grocery stores.

But the fact of the matter is if minors want it, they seem to find ways of getting it, regardless of whether it is sold in a liquor store or grocery store.

This new group will likely attract more attention throughout Kansas as the legislation is debated in the chambers of the Kansas legislature.

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