Abolish the Liquor Control Commission


Why do we need a Liquor Control Commission? We don't have a Tobacco Control Commission or a Automobile Control Commission. When a government shutdown was threatened in September 2007 due to the Legislature's failure to pass a budget, one of the predicted effects was that there would be no distribution of packaged liquor. Why do stores depend on the State to deliver liquor?

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is in the Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DL&EG). A "General Overview" of the MLCC's history and responsibilities is on the DL&EG website. The following responsibilities are listed:

  • Being the sole wholesaler for all spirit products in the state.

Why have just one wholesaler? Why not privatize this function and allow restaurants, bars and stores to buy from whoever gives them the best deal? We might possibly see a reduction in prices.

  • The licensing of the manufacture and sale of all beer, wine, distilled spirits, and mixed spirit drinks in Michigan.

Is licensing really necessary? If so, couldn't the manufacturer be licensed by local health departments and the sale by the Department of Agriculture, which already licenses food establishments?

  • The enforcement of the state's liquor laws and the rules of the Commission.

The Overview says this is a joint effort with local and state law enforcement officers. Couldn't it be left entirely to local and state police?

  • The adjudication of all administrative liquor law violations.

Couldn't this be left to the courts?

  • The collection of excise and specific taxes on beer, wine, distilled spirits and mixed spirit drinks.

Couldn't this be handled by the Department of Treasury, the tax experts?

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has had several stories on this issue.