Retailers challenge liquor privatization process

July 3, 2012

By Staff

Issaquah-based Costco and other supporters of liquor privatization filed a lawsuit challenging the way the state implemented the law.

Costco, joined by the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Restaurant Association, filed the suit June 21 — 20 days after private retailers started selling spirits, ending a decades-old state monopoly on liquor sales.

Washington Liquor Control Board officials said the agency is confident in the rules drafted to implement the liquor privatization measure, Initiative 1183. Board officials said the rule-making process remained open and transparent.

Costco — the largest employer in Issaquah — led the push to pass I-1183 last year. Statewide, almost 60 percent of voters supported the liquor-privatization measure.

The measure limits hard liquor sales to stores of at least 10,000 square feet.

The lawsuit is the latest case to result from I-1183. The day before the initiative took effect, the state Supreme Court upheld a challenge to the measure.

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