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Stores ignoring alcohol law?

September 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A controversial law on alcohol sales is on the books in the city of San Bernardino, but lots of people appear to be ignoring it.The law bars stores from selling single bottles or cans of beer or malt liquor to customers. City officials think it a great move. Others aren't so sure.

The thought behind the San Bernardino law is if you ban the sale of individual containers of alcohol, like "40s" or 24-ouncers, will you see a drop in crime. Well, in the city of San Bernardino, officials say statistics are on their side.

"There is a correlation between vendors who sell those single containers and crime in the surrounding neighborhood," said Kent Paxton, City of San Bernardino.

So, for years, the law has not allowed the sale of single-containers of alcohol. The trouble is, a new study shows almost 90 percent of stores in the city don't follow that law.

The problem is, with so many stores breaking the rules and selling individual bottles of liquor, the county may have trouble fixing the problem.

"Part of it's an enforcement issue. We need to be out there enforcing the policy that is on the books," said Paxton.

With budget problems there may not be enough officers to enforce the law.

Enforcement means a $100 fine for offending stores. Repeat offenders could have their liquor licenses yanked.

Liquor store manager Jerry Lee wonders how forcing someone to buy more liquor, for example a six-pack instead of the single, could help.

"If you limit by one, between one and the six pack, they can buy more. If they cannot control themselves, they drink more and get drunk," said Lee.

The county disagrees.

"The single-sale items is an issue for us, because of the way they're packaged and promoted, they encourage more consumption," said Amelia Lopez, San Bernardino County Health Department.

Regardless, it's the law. And, as far as the city is concerned, now it is time to figure out how to enforce it.

 

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