Council Creates Ad Hoc Committee on Liquor Control

liquorcontrolMontgomery County Councilmembers Hans Riemer, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich have sent a memo to their colleagues to create a Council ad hoc committee to study the County’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) and its current system of distributing alcohol to restaurants and retail beer and wine stores.

The memo proposes that one issue the committee should study is whether Montgomery should continue to be the nation’s only county that controls alcohol distribution in such a manner.

 In his remarks after being installed as new Council president on Dec. 2, Council President Leventhal stated that one of his goals during his one-year term would be to have a thorough study of the County’s liquor control system.

 “The committee will review alternative models and construct a recommendation that better aligns Montgomery County’s alcohol regulations and policies with our economic development, quality of life and public safety goals,” the memo to Councilmembers stated. “Among other things, the committee will review whether Montgomery County should continue to control the distribution and sale of distilled spirits, beer and/or wine at the wholesale and/or retail levels.”

 The memo states that the committee will be chaired by Councilmember Riemer, with Public Safety Committee Chair Elrich and Health and Human Services Committee Chair Leventhal serving as the other members. It also encourages all Councilmembers to participate in the review and attend the hearings.

 To assist the committee in its deliberations, the memo proposes that it review the forthcoming County Office of Legislative Oversight Report on Liquor Control, as well as hear testimony from stakeholder groups. The suggested list of stakeholders includes customers of the Department of Liquor Control, restaurateurs, beer and wine store licensees, representatives of the Montgomery County Government Employees Organization (MCGEO), representatives of the County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, members of the State Alcohol Beverage Advisory Board and other interested parties.

Among the issues the memo suggests the committee review are recent events in which DLC employees are alleged to have stolen products and employees were discharged for drinking on the job.

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