A Brewing Battle: Loosening liquor laws worry experts

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  • raybies Layton, UT
    Jan. 17, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    Great article. Utah should be proud of its stance on this issue. As usual it may not be invited to the "popular" kids house for the kegger, but I'll take a life free of dependence on substances for my happiness anyday. Hopefully the state will stick with its reasoning and continue to keep us all safer from the menace of public drinking and intoxication.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 11:19 a.m.

    If the Church truly believed what their scriptures say about instructing members in the way that they should live we wouldn't need these strict laws and all the government control.

    Instead our laws reflect an attitude of fear and only harm the state economically.

    Want to know why SLC doesn't have any really good restaurants? Because it is nearly impossible to get a liquor license here.

    Good restaurants don't make money on food. They use low food prices, large quantities and high quality ingredients to get people in the door. Profit for the business comes from selling liquor.

    If you can't sell liquor you may as well not be in business.

  • non believer PARK CITY, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 9:58 a.m.

    Living in Park City, it is certainly worth the time and gas to drive to Evingston to avoid Utah Sales tax on real liquor. I refuse to pay Utah liquor tax and 1 6 pack of real beer pays for itself verse going into a Utah State Liquor store. 6 pack of Harps in Evingston $7.50, 6 pack of Harps from Utah Liquor store $13.20 (Ridiculous)

  • OLD-GUY Central, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:33 p.m.

    I have worked in WY, WA, NJ, CO, OK, MI, OH & UT. I have associated with both "good" and "bad" people. I was a law enforcement officer in Ohio.

    As a bold statement, I can't remember anyone who has not be affected by drinking, regardless if they were a drinker or not. Some very adversely afftected.

    The article says; " Critics respond that alcohol's externalities, or costs imposed on bystanders, are out of all proportion to any other legal product, and these costs are borne by society at large, not just by the drinker. " That seems to be true from my experience.

    I am not sure "religion" is a good argument because you and I have seen "non-religious" people who are not drinkers and we have seen "religious" people who are drinkers.

    As I have bounced around, I have experienced a real variety of public management from "dry" in such places as OK even in the 1950's when I was there, to what seemed like "do whatever you want."

    We are all free to decide if we will partake, but unless I am mistaken that choice will ultimately effect others too.

    I don't drink anymore. I recognize that "dry" didn't work, but my observation is that Utah strikes a pretty good balance. I do not personally think they should be liberalized. I don't think my neighbor should be allowed to make bombs either, because such actions have the high potiential for infringing on my or other peoples freedom.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 8:30 p.m.

    Utah has the lowest DUI-related death rate in the country.... So how can anyone justify saying our laws are too harsh?

    If a state lowered all of its speed limits to 5mph, it would have the lowest traffic related death rate in the country....So how can anyone justify saying their laws are too harsh?

    If Satan had his way, the entire world population would have the lowest level of sin ever...So how can anyone justify saying that his methods are too harsh?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 7:17 p.m.

    I don't drink, but in Virginia, where beer and wine are sold in grocery stores, I don't think it is a problem. I think the motivating forces in the arguments are something other than reality.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    Jan. 15, 2012 3:08 p.m.

    Got to love Utah: Gubbermint interference in our lives is bad! EXCEPT Liquor, Women's Reproductive Rights, etc. But in the case of Liquor, it's allowing it to be sold in private businesses MIGHT lead to more consumption? Yea because we know that if we have to buy it from the government, and only Monday-Saturday, and not on State/Federal Holiday's, we'll somehow drink less right? "Oh gota go buy my hootch from the Man, better not let him know how much I'd REALLY like to drink, I think I'll tone it down. That and the Man might call my bishop on me!"

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 11:48 a.m.

    @ My2Cents | 5:11 a.m. Jan. 15, 2012

    "Paranoia and chaos is what drives Utah's culture," Don't forget hive mentality/groupthink

    "common sense and reality are irrelevant." Yes, they are. As is, Rational behavior.

    Its funny to see all the Conservatives want to keep the status quo and not let the Free Market dictate this issue.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:48 a.m.

    If liquor stores are closed on Sunday why can't you buy a car on Sunday?

  • RyaninOgden OGDEN, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    To, a voice of reason,

    My drinking, IN NO WAY, influences your freedom. Someone drinking and driving does, because it puts you and your family at risk. So here's what we can do to prevent either of our freedoms being on the line, strictly and strongly enforce DUI laws. Make the punishes worse. I don't just mean, more expensive, I mean jail time.

    Speeding causes traffic fatalities every day. Maybe more than DUI. But restricting someones ability to drink, in order to reduce DUIs is like making it harder to drive so people can't speed. We keep people from speeding by punishing them for speeding. We prevent people from robbery by punishing them for robbery... do you see where I'm going here? We don't try to make it harder to by a black ski mask. Your opinion is only validated in your own mind because you're ok with peoples freedoms being stepped on, as long as it's a freedom that you don't care about.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Mountanman: Feel free not to drink. It's your choice

    I challenge the government to either outlaw alcohol completely or treat it as an other commercial product and let the free-market handle it.

    If there's a religious problem, remember it's in the Bible.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:14 a.m.


    You could call it paranoia if there was no evidence of non-users being affected in their own freedom. How many people have been killed? How many does it take before I'm not paranoid? "Paranoid" cannot be attributed to our current circumstance. Every last preventative liquor law was created AFTER people abused their freedom and the rest of us started getting hurt or even killed. Our laws are a reaction to the corruption that already existed. Therefore, there is no logical defense of attributing paranoia to those favoring alcohol restrictions.

    Utah has the lowest DUI-related death rate in the country. Factor out every last member of the LDS Church and it's still the lowest. So how can anyone justify saying our laws are too harsh? They not only preserve ones ability to drink, but protect (as best they can) everyone else's freedom at the same time. I still don't favor alcohol as innocent people are still affected, but there is no reasonable argument against Utah's liquor laws. If my preserving freedom gets me labeled "paranoid"- fine, but in the end our beliefs and the legal system we establish to protect everyone's freedom have always proven right.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    @A voice of reason. I can argue this issue from both sides quite effectively. For example, you are free to modify the height of your massive Ford F450 pickup so that in an accident, your after market steel bumper runs through the side window of my Wife's Honda Fit and decapitates her. And why did you make the modifications that killed my wife? No real reason other than ego. But yet we still allow this behavior in our society. With regard to alcohol and cannabis there are absolutely negative effects on innocents in society, but prohibition proved to be even more destructive. Look at what happened in Ogden last week. A dead police officer and lost of wounded people over growing pot. So there has to be a balance. Alcohol is available. Pot should be. Keep the age limit. Figure out a way for someone with a DUI to be prohibited from buying alcohol, but let the rest of the people enjoy a glass of wine or bottle of beer without punishing them because of your beliefs.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 15, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    I will never understand the "thrill" of drinking alcohol. Why not just hit yourself in the head with a hammer everyday? The effects are about the same and think of all the money, suffering and harm to others you would save!

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Jan. 15, 2012 8:24 a.m.

    There are no "experts" in Utah concerning liquor. When is the state going to stop trying to legislate "their" version of morality?

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 5:11 a.m.

    Paranoia and chaos is what drives Utah's culture, common sense and reality are irrelevant.

    It even spills over into health care and its drive to force its biases on the public and our laws. It's so chaotic and wild that health care has issued its biases on the issue of drinking, its so biased that if they get a patient who has one drink in their life its permanently 'documented' as a "drinking problem" in their health history.

    And medical information, right or wrong and biased is what many laws are based on, drinking, smoking, and sins of the devil without proof influence legislation.

    Drugs are an even bigger problem in Utah that is elusive for health care to label as a social problem because drugs is their trillion dollar industry. Alcohol therapy and use is a threat to drug industry so its gets targeted more by hospitals and doctors as a problem, and put the alcohol in the drugs.

    Government and health care have no right to be the care takers of our minds or social standards or social endeavors. Drugs and drinking and driving are equal crimes yet drugs and driving are not prosecuted as DUI's, ever.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 1:14 a.m.

    Re: "Loosening liquor laws worry experts"

    Liquor laws should be loosened.

    People wanting to drink poison should be free to do so -- so long as they and the industry promoting and profiting from it are made as fully responsible legally, as they have always been morally, for the predictable carnage resulting from irresponsibility of the "hospitality" industry -- including brewers, distillers, and distributors.

    "Experts" must share our worry -- that the legislature is so deep into the pockets of the industry it won't consider all available options to prevent the slaughter of innocents.

    The Legislature's primary tool should be a long-overdue reform of Utah's lax dram-shop laws.

    Extending the reach of civil judgments to the whole "hospitality" industry would incentivize responsible industry behavior, letting entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinking -- by those with the clearest vision of the problem -- come up with effective solutions.

    Better than continuing to immunize cynical profiteers and sanctioning only the poor drunks their industry creates -- those least able to solve the problem, since they're identified only after-the-fact.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 12:05 a.m.


    Sorry, this comment should have been first.

    You're absolutely right. However, people forget the most important condition- freedom.

    I only favor preserving freedom. Compare alcohol to religion. If religions wanted to practice a human sacrifice, should government allow it? Absolutely not. I'm sure you'd agree with that. Well why is alcohol or marijuana any different? If people are abusing their freedom in a way that places other people's lives at risk, or even results in the deaths of people- then there is an inherent conflict if interest between the freedom of someone to act as they wish and someone else's freedom to live or be free.

    A drinkers freedom does not displace my freedom. That's all I'm really arguing. I want as little government intervention in our lives as possible. However, when someone abuses their freedom in a way that threatens my own- how do you answer my right to protect my freedom? That question must be answered in order for peaceable law and society to exist, even freedom.

    Justice requires that law preserve everyone's freedom. My not drinking threatens no one while people die every day from substance abuse, whether one acknowledges that reality or not.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 12:04 a.m.

    I made the point about "my not drinking threatens no one". Think about that in relation to the options we have.

    We prevent the public use of chemicals that severely alter human behavior. Under this system, you and I are both alive, free to think what we want, believe want we want, etc. The Supreme Court ruled that we do have the right to believe whatever we want, but that doesn't extend to the exercise thereof. Just cause the 'pro drug' religion believes it does not mean they can freely practice it. But like I said, we're both alive and free to believe what we want, and act within the laws that we voted democratically to uphold.

    We permit chemicals that severely alter human behavior. Under this system, Jane Doe is hit by a drunk driver and is killed. She is no longer free.

    Alcohol and religion and freedom of expression are all no different. Freedom is real and is the founding value of this country. But freedom does not exist if religion can practice sacrificing people, when drunks kill people, etc.

    To me, promoting these things is promoting anarchy and lawlessness. How am I wrong?

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 10:50 p.m.

    @A voice of Reason

    We could essentially take your argument and change alcohol/drugs to anything: guns, religion, driving, etc. Your argument is the same argument the government uses anytime it involves itself in people's personal lives.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 9:24 p.m.

    To those who have defended drug and alcohol use...

    This is essentially the argument from some of the comments above: "People should stop trying to boss me. We're supposed to be free. We should promote using drugs, and fight drug abuse instead."

    The two points arguing in favor of legalizing or removing some or all limitations on drug/alcochol use are the "boss me" and "drug abuse" points. - The actual claim: 'I should be free from other people interfering with my life, that this freedom should protect using I want in my own personal life'. This claim neglects other people's freedom.

    If the use of something ended at your nose, and never affected anyone else- then no one would care. People claim that the legalization causes all the problems but there is zero evidence of this and a world of evidence to the contrary. While it is illegal and restricted, people still abuse it. This is evidence, or a display of an unwillingness to accept responsibility. It's one thing if it only affects you, but when it's illegal and everyone still lets it affect my freedom- I have every right to prevent it's use to protect myself and family.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 9:23 p.m.

    Somehow it's ok to binge on ice cream and red meat but having a drink is a "sin". ZCMI sold liquor which was approved by LDS leaders back in the day.
    Hutterite is correct, the fact that Idaho's #1 lottery tickets sales spot is so close to the Utah borders tells the whole story.
    Wendover only exits because of Utah gamlers.

  • The_Kaiser Holladay, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    Once it becomes dependent on the state to discourage the abuse of alcohol with its costs, we have already lost the battle.

    The use of alcohol should be fought in the private sector; IE Churches, non-profits, associations, and most importantly, the family.

    Once we stop shouldering our responsibility to our neighbors and families is when the State, by necessity, acts.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    Stop trying to be my mom. This is America, land of the free. Right?

  • Mister Blu EUGENE, OR
    Jan. 14, 2012 5:02 p.m.

    ...And Cannabis is vilified.

    Much good will come from ending the 73 year old Prohibition of Cannabis.

    More cannabis use;
    Less drug abuse!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 4:04 p.m.

    If utah's 'teetotaler' culture were true and effective, we should be able to have the nations most liberal liquor laws. Instead, people run delivery businesses to get real beer and cheaper liquor, let alone lottery tickets, from out of state.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 3:05 p.m.

    It's an issue of liquor industry profit versus public health and safety. Any other discussion is off topic.