Starting Friday morning, shoppers in Washington will be able to purchase hard liquor at certain grocery and drug stores for the first time.
Bottles of booze sat on store shelves at the Safeway off Highway 99 in Vancouver Thursday night. Customers we spoke with were looking forward to the convenience.
"I know people that are happy about it because they can go to the nearest place and buy liquor," said one shopper.
Last November, Washington voters passed an initiative to privatize liquor sales.
Any store larger than 10,000 square feet is allowed to sell hard alcohol. Previously, you could only buy it at state-run liquor stores.
Private liquor sales are expected to bring in millions of dollars each year in extra tax revenue for the state.
But some shoppers worry that state taxes will also increase the price of a bottle of liquor.
"I think it's going to be more expensive because of the 17 percent taxes that are added to it," said shopper Jayson Carr.
Bottles of liquor flew off the shelves at the only state-run liquor store in Vancouver that remained open Thursday. It closed for good at 9 p.m. on Thursday, along with 35 other stores that remained open around Washington.
As many as 1,000 state employees, like Janet Koenig, are now out of a job.
"I'm at the age where I am going to take Social Security and find something part-time," she said.
On Thursday, the state Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the initiative that privatized liquor sales.
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