Wine On Ballot
|The question of the sale of wine in grocery stores will be on the
November election ballot in both Lenoir City and Loudon. Representatives
from local grocery stores in conjunction with a group called Red, White
and Food have been working to gain the necessary petition signatures to
place the question on the ballot.
The number of signatures needed were 10% of the number of votes cast in the last governors election. For Lenoir City that required 187 signatures. Loudon needed 126 signatures.
Earlier this year, the state legislature passed legislation to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores. However, to make it legal, the question had to be approved in local election in every legislative district wanting to legalize the grocery store wine sales.
Included in the change in the wine laws was that liquor stores will now be allowed to expand items they could sell that had previously been prohibited such as snacks, soft drinks, corkscrews, ice, etc.
Even if the wine sales in grocery stores is passed by the voters in November, no grocery store will be permitted to begin selling wine before July 1st, 2016. This is to allow the existing liquor stores to get a jump on the new competition.