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How does the rejection of Question 3 affect Massachusetts consumers? > Massachusetts

Question 3 was defeated by Massachusetts voters during the 2022 midterm elections. If passed, it would have changed the laws governing the sale of alcoholic beverages and limited liquor licenses for retailers, according to the AP.

Question 3 was the only question on the ballot that voters did not pass by a slim majority of 55.3%. The arguments for and against the vote were supported by stakeholders including the Massachusetts Retailers Association and Total Wine respectively.

If Question 3 had been approved in the November 8 election, it would have increased the number of licenses a retailer could have to sell alcoholic beverages consumed on the property. The use of self-checkout in stores would also be restricted, and retailers would have to accept IDs from out-of-state customers, which is allowed in every other state. Finally, the amount of “purely alcoholic beverages” licenses that retailers could obtain would be limited.

According to WBUR, the measure would have progressively doubled the total number of liquor licenses a company can own, from nine to 18 by 2031. The number of “full” liquor licenses a company can hold would also be limited.

The Massachusetts Package Stores Association, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting local retail businesses, backed the proposal in late September, according to its official website. They argued that passage of the law would support small liquor stores in the face of increasing competition.

The Massachusetts Retailers Association collectively supported a market with no license caps. Total Wine, the country’s largest independent fine wine retailer, spent over $2 million to support the No to 3 campaign in late October, according to its official website.

Naiysean Leng, an employee at Fenway Beer Shop, said there is no definitive “good” or “bad” if Question 3 is not accepted during the election.

“As a worker, I find it difficult to express my opinion. I see pros and cons between failing Question 3,” he said. “To support local and small businesses, it’s about understanding and seeing where this store could come from.”

However, he added that if Question 3 were passed and allowed stores to get more liquor licenses, “it would kill all the small businesses here [in Fenway] certainly.” Many customers have tried to support the Fenway Beer Shop, especially with large stores like Star Market and Target nearby that can sell large quantities of spirits at cheaper prices.

“In my personal opinion, if everything is expanding, who says bigger liquor stores like Total Wine wouldn’t be fighting for a bigger license.”

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