Local residents, lawmakers weigh in on NC bill that would scrap ABC stores; allow Sunday liquor sales

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A bill is making its way through the state House that could change how you buy alcohol in North Carolina. 

According to lawmakers, with the exception of licensed distilleries, you can buy liquor in the Tar Heel State only at ABC stores. 

If passed, House Bill 971 would phase out ABC stores around the state, and allow the ABC commission to issue private retailers a license to sell liquor.

Knightdale resident Kareem Odem told CBS 17 he’s all for the idea. 

“It is important to have more options,” Odem said. “If you’re not from around here, you have to look up an ABC store. There might be a few around, not really a lot that’s close by.” 

HB 971 would also allow local governments to adopt an ordinance allowing liquor to be sold on Sundays beginning at 10:00 a.m. 

“I think it’s wonderful,” Zebulon resident Robert Hooker said.

Hooker said he wants better access when it comes to buying alcohol.
“I like seeing a trim in government, in a place where you can really trim it without hurting anything,” he said. 

The bill’s lead sponsor, State Representative Chuck McGrady, said he doesn’t want local governments to have responsibility for sale and distribution. 

“I think that it’s more efficient,” Rep. McGrady said of HB 971. “We give basically monopolies to local governments, and then they try to compete with each other.”

Governor Roy Cooper told CBS 17 it’s fine to consider the idea, but right now it’s too soon to do it. 

“I think we need to go slow on that,” Cooper said. “We’ve had a pretty good system in North Carolina for years to help make sure that we have safety first. To make sure consumption is controlled in a proper way.”

Lawmakers told CBS 17 the bill is currently in the ABC committee, and they hope to have more discussion about it moving forward. 

CBS 17 reached out to the North Carolina ABC Commission about HB 971. NC ABC Commission officials said, as a regulatory agency, the commission does not comment on pending legislation. 

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