While poring over Liquor Commission documents recently (yes, we know how to spend a Saturday night), we came upon this, from §281-78: “At no time under any circumstances shall any licensee or its employee…sell, serve, or furnish any liquor to, or allow the consumption of any liquor by:
(A) Any minor;
(B) Any person at the time under the influence of liquor;
(C) Any person known to the licensee to be addicted to the excessive use of intoxicating liquor…”
As you probably deduced from our added emphasis, it’s the third provision that jumped out. What that line means is an establishment could be penalized for selling booze to an alcoholic (which isn’t really a clearly defined thing), even if that person is stone cold sober at the time of sale. Isn’t that akin to telling McDonald’s they have to turn away fat people? Or barring gas stations from selling cigarettes to folks with coughs and bad teeth?
Look, we’re not here today to dispute or belittle the serious, damaging consequences of alcoholism. Our goal, as ever, is simply to point out places where the rules and regs of the LC don’t line up with common sense and leave far too much room for capricious judgments.
It may well be that this particular rule is never enforced. But the point is it’s there, in writing, along with a whole lot of other vague, open-ended rules. Given the LC’s patchy history and the almost total absence of oversight (sound familiar?), thata problem. And not just for alcoholics.