BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji City Council has approved a resolution opposing the sale of strong alcohol in grocery and convenience stores.
To show legislative leaders where they stand on the matter, 130 other Minnesota cities have passed similar resolutions. Historically, bills to authorize sales in grocery or convenience stores have been opposed by cities and other municipal government units because of the negative impact that it would have on control and accountability.
“In the legislative session earlier this year, a bill was introduced to allow wine, beer and spirit sales to take place in grocery and convenience stores,” Bemidji city finance director Ron Eischens said. “The concern is that controlling the sale and safety of alcohol becomes more and more challenging.”
The previous major law change related to liquor was allowing for sales on Sundays. In 2017, the Minnesota Legislature approved repealing the 159-year-old ban on liquor stores selling on Sundays.
The city of Bemidji currently operates two liquor stores, Discount Liquor and Lakeview Liquor. The city is one of 193 across the state to operate municipal liquor stores. Profits made by both locations are utilized by the city to reduce property taxes and fund special projects.