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08/04/2021

Cumberland Farms Drops Plans for Liquor Ballot Question in 2022

The retailer is turning its support to Bill H.318, which would create a new alcohol license category.
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WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Cumberland Farmswill not renew its call for alcohol licensing changes via a 2022 ballot question and will instead support on legislation-based change.

The company previously dropped a bid to bring the question of alcohol license limits to voters in June 2020, due to its need to focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

Cumberland Farms' current focus is on Bill H.318, which would create a new category of licenses that allow food stores to sell beer and wine, according to a WWLP report. 

"Liquor licensing reform remains a top policy issue for Cumberland Farms here in Massachusetts, and a lot has changed over the past two years, so the strategy has to keep evolving to meet the moment," Matt Durand, head of public policy for Cumberland Farms, told the news outlet. "Our efforts around the ballot initiative kicked off some really productive conversations, and we want to keep those conversations going.

"It's clear we have overwhelming public support on this issue, and we're equally gratified by the recent outreach from legislators and other interested stakeholders. So we're going to focus on House Bill 318, respect the legislative process, and keep assessing the situation as this session unfolds," he continued.

The Massachusetts Package Store Association (MPSA), which opposed the ballot question before Cumberland Farms dropped the initiative, recently filed its own petition for the 2022 legislative cycle. MPSA Director Robert Mellion called it an olive branch to food and convenience stores, as the proposal would increase the number of alcohol licenses available to retailers while retaining an overall cap, reforming the use of out-of-state IDs and banning alcohol sales at self-checkout stations.

Westborough-based Cumberland Farms operates approximately 600 c-stores in the Northeast and Florida. It is a member of the EG Group family.