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Momentum Growing for Liquor Law Reform in BC

The last few weeks have seen growing calls in the media for broad reform of BC\’s liquor laws, which in my view, are hopelessly outdated. The (unlikely) catalyst for change appears to be the situation of the Rio movie theatre in Vancouver which is caught by post-prohibition era requirements that prevent the issuance of a liquor-primary license to any business that is also licensed as motion picture theatre (see Arcane Liquor Laws Kill Rio Theatre\’s Business). While I sympathize with the Rio\’s situation, it is really the tip of the iceberg in respect of a regulatory structure which was created almost 90 years ago and which is almost completely out of touch with the requirements of modern business and the realities of contemporary society. Kurtis Kolt nails the broad problems in this blog post: Dear Mr. Mayor. CBC has run a number of stories on the issue including this one related to the sale of beer and wine in supermarkets and this political radio discussion (relevant part starts at 13:25) where all of the panelists (of different political stripes) agreed that it was time for change. The City of Vancouver has also entered the fray and will consider a motion tonight which will ask the provincial government to help the Rio out and to review its liquor laws and policies. We will be discussing many of these issues at the upcoming conference on Wine & Liquor Law in British Columbia to be held February 27th in Vancouver – please join us if you are interested. 

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