Loosening North Carolina control of liquor considered again

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The North Carolina legislature is again weighing whether altering how liquor sales have been regulated for over 80 years is worth likely increasing the number of retail outlets but also increasing public consumption.

The General Assembly's government watchdog agency released Monday a study advising lawmakers on the implications of privatizing the state's government-run stores and wholesale operations.

North Carolina is one of 17 states that control directly the sale and distribution of spirits. Liquor is currently sold at over 400 local Alcohol Beverage Control stores.

The report doesn't give an opinion whether to shift away from the control system, saying it should be evaluated carefully by a separate House-Senate study panel. But it did recommend incremental changes, such as opening ABC stores on Sundays if local governments agree.