Oklahoma Supreme Court finds alcohol law to be unconstitutional
The Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a decision Wednesday stating SB 608, a law regarding the way alcohol is distributed throughout the state, is unconstitutional.
"The Court must always presume that a law is constitutional unless 'clearly, palpably, and plainly inconsistent with the Constitution,'" the Supreme Court opinion states. "Here, SB 608 is clearly, palpably, and plainly inconsistent with (Oklahoma's constitutional) grant of discretion to a liquor or wine manufacturer to determine what wholesaler sells its product."
Both SB 608, and SQ 792 before it, have drastically changed the manner in which alcohol is distributed throughout Oklahoma, and with the Supreme Court's ruling the industry is set for yet another disruption.
SB 608, enacted last year, walked back some of the changes made to the alcohol industry when voters passed SQ 792.
SB 608, which was signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt and enacted last year, required the top-25 wine and spirits brands, ranked by sales, be made available to all wholesale distributors. It was enacted less than a year after changes were implemented as a result of SQ 792.
SQ 792, enacted in October 2018, allowed wine and spirits manufacturers to designate individual wholesale distributors. This change disrupted a decades-old distribution system that previously required manufacturers make all their products available to all wholesale distributors in the Oklahoma.
SQ 792 also included changes to allow for the sale of wine and strong beer in grocery stores and convenience stores and refrigerated beer in liquor stores.
The Supreme Court's decision affirmed a lower court's ruling.
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