Walmart sues State of Texas to sell liquor
Walmart, an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores and grocery stores, plans to sue the state of Texas for the right to sell hard liquor.
This case shows the aggressive mindset of Big Alcohol and its allies within the corporate consumption complex.
Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2016, as well as the largest private employer in the world with 2.2 million employees. It’s now aiming for increasing profits through selling more alcohol – in a Federal State that is already burdened with massive alcohol harm.
Massive alcohol harm in Texas
In 2013, underage alcohol use cost the citizens of Texas $5.5 billion. These costs include medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering associated with the multiple problems resulting from the use of alcohol by youth. This translates to $2,075 per year for each youth in the state or $3.50 per beverage consumed underage.
Underage alcohol use is widespread in Texas. Approximately 1,043,000 underage customers consume alcohol every year in Texas. In 2013, Texas students in grades 9 to 12 reported the following:
- 67.2% had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more days during their life.
- 18.1% had their first drink of alcohol, other than a few sips, before age 13.
- 36.1% had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more occasions in the past 30 days.
- 21.0% had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row (binge alcohol intake) in the past 30 days.
Texas law prevents Walmart and other publicly traded companies from being able to hold beer, wine, and liquor licenses all at the same time.
The Walmart way: profit over human rights
Walmart Spokeswoman Anne Hatfield said that the current liquor laws in Texas are unfair and not in line with Texas’ belief in free enterprise and fair competition. Hatfield also mentioned that if Texas were to change its liquor laws Walmart would sell the alcohol out of separate buildings and not it’s grocery stores.
Current law says that a Texas liquor store holder is limited to no more than five package stores. Certain loopholes in the law do leave the door open for liquor businesses to expand beyond that.
A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently allowed the Texas Package Stores Association to join the lawsuit that Walmart has filed against the Lone Star State and the rules that have been set by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The TPSA said it had “no comment” on the recent decision. An Austin based judge named Robert Pitman has yet to announce a trail date for the lawsuit.