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INDIANAPOLIS -- Grocery stores have joined forces with retail trade associations and drug and convenience stores in Indiana to form a statewide coalition that yesterday launched a campaign to propose changes to the "patchwork" of laws governing the sale of alcohol in the state.
The aim of the Alliance of Responsible Alcohol Retailers is to "ensure that alcohol is sold within a regulatory framework that strengthens compliance, fair competition, and effective public policy," according to the group
The alliance rolled out a public education campaign to build support for a series of proposals to help bring consistency to Indiana public policy and bolster the state's efforts to control underage access to alcohol. Among the proposals are:
--Granting the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission the authority to conduct compliance checks at all facilities allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, as a means of deterring sales to minors.
--Increasing the penalties against adults who provide alcohol to minors, and more strongly enforcing existing laws against minors in possession of alcohol.
--Codifying existing ATC rulings and case law that establish the eligibility of grocery and convenience stores to hold beer and wine permits, while prohibiting nongrocery businesses from eligibility for alcoholic beverage permits.
--Establishing, with the grocery store definition for alcoholic beverage permits, that the current quota for permits be reduced from one per 1,500 in population to one per 2,000, thereby reducing the potential number of outlets by over 25 percent.
"With hundreds of retail operations throughout Indiana, and thousands of employees in our host communities, we have an active interest in ensuring safe, responsible, and effective public policies governing the sale of and access to alcoholic beverages," said Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council, a member of the alliance, in a statement.