Maui residents speak out over liquor law change

Maui residents spoke out Tuesday against changes to the county’s liquor laws.

In March, Maui became the first county in the state to allow stores to sell alcohol any time of the day and night.

Before then, stores could only sell alcohol between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.

But critics say this puts everyone at risk. So Maui’s Liquor Control Commission scheduled a special meeting Tuesday to listen to residents’ concerns.

The county says stores must follow strict rules as well as hotels, which are also allowed to sell beer, wine and spirits 24/7.

Residents who spoke out about the change say they worry about the impact this will have on the island.

Alcohol policy specialist Michael Sparks said, “There’s a consensus that as you expand hours of sale, you expand availability, and as you expand availability, you expand consumption increase. Increase consumption and therefore you increase alcoholic-related problems. There’s no doubt about this.”

The commission also heard testimony about a change that got rid of a cap on the number of hostess bars.

The commission did not take any action Tuesday, but there will be a regular meeting Wednesday when they could decide to repeal the changes they made or keep them in place.

  • General meeting and possible decision: Wednesday, May 10, at 9 a.m.
  • Location: Department of Liquor Control conference room, David K. Trask Jr. Office Building, 2145 Kaohu Street, Room 108 in Wailuku
  • Submit Testimony: Persons interested in presenting written testimony of any agenda item shall submit the signed written testimony to the Director, Department of Liquor Control, 2145 Kaohu Street, Room 105, Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793 at or prior to the time of the hearing.

Some video footage provided by Wendy Osher of MauiNow.com.

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