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SOMERSET, Mass. -- Residents will vote in November on a proposal that gives convenience stores, along with grocery and gas stations, the opportunity to stock shelves with wine, reported the Providence Journal.
The proposal gives each city the job of licensing the stores, allowing at least five stores to be licensed and an additional license for every 5,000 residents. According to the newspaper, based on population, eight convenience or grocery stores can then sell wine in Somerset, Mass., a town which already is home to nine liquor stores.
"We're looking at more than doubling the number of licenses out there," Frank Anzalotti, an official from the Massachusetts Package Stores Association told the Providence Journal.
Supporters believe that it will add to the convenience of one-stop-shopping, allowing customers to pick up their favorite varieties the same place they fill up.
Opponents -- including liquor stores -- believe it would increase underage access to alcohol and double the number of stores that can also sell beer and hard liquor, making enforcement of liquor laws more difficult.
If passed "we will literally have alcohol available on every street corner," said store owner Christopher Gasbarro.
State officials have concerns with the proposal as well. Selectwoman Eleanor Gagnon told the newspaper that "I think once we lose control and we have so many places where it's available, it's no longer a convenience, it's a nuisance."