Cohen on Relaxation of Liquor Laws During Coronavirus Outbreak

Social Welfare Professor David Cohen spoke to the Hill about the temporary relaxation of laws on alcohol purchases during the coronavirus outbreak. Some states are now permitting takeout and delivery of alcoholic beverages to provide relief for restaurants and small businesses. Cohen said it was common to rethink regulations during emergencies but also cited the influence of the beer, wine and spirits lobby. “Regulations result from balancing many interests, but the weight of manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of alcoholic beverages in influencing policy through lobbying is notable,” he said. Alcohol laws exist for a reason and relaxing them could be dangerous, he added. “Alcohol used excessively can lead to serious problems in people and in communities in the short and the longer term. If changes in access to alcohol occur, consequences must be monitored so we can understand more clearly the impact — desirable, undesirable and unanticipated — of our regulations,” he said.


 

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