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Letter: Decision to reject liquor license 'smacks of protectionism'

The decision regarding the liquor license at the Wegmans store by the Howard County Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board is absurd and infuriating ("No license for liquor store at Wegmans," Aug. 2.) The only purpose Maryland's liquor laws serve is protectionism. and this decision certainly smacks of protectionism.

The board's reasons for rejection are spurious:

• "Not necessary for the accommodation of the public…" I would find the ability to purchased alcoholic beverages while parked at Wegmans very convenient. I might find a different and unique selection, and a level of service not provided elsewhere.

• "Violation of state law…" Wegmans and the liquor store enterprise have made an honest and plausible effort to be two separate enterprises, thereby adhering to an antiquated law designed to protect incumbent alcoholic beverage distributors and stifle competition hurting consumers (i.e. the public) in the process.

• Store's impact on nearby liquor stores. Pure, unabashed protectionism that again only serves to hurt the consumer.

• Inexperience of the man who is the public face of the store. Being that the board members are not investors in this enterprise, why are they concerned about the experience of this person? If the person is not experienced enough, the enterprise will fail.

Free enterprise is the backbone of our great economy and to see it interfered with in this manner is disheartening.

Barbara Dyer

Columbia

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