Costco-backed I-1183 leads, liquor sales start in June

November 8, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 9 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

Costco-backed Initiative 1183, a ballot measure to loosen state liquor rules, passed Tuesday night, and liquor sales should start at the Issaquah-based warehouse giant and other retailers in June.

In statewide results released just after 8 p.m., I-1183 captured about 60 percent of the vote in the initial ballot count.

I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close and for the state to get out of the liquor business. The measure also aims to require the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Still, opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Costco, the largest employer in Issaquah, spent a record $22 million to promote the initiative.

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