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Baltimore To Ban Liquor Store Snack Sales To Kids

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- In Baltimore City, people under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to buy items from stores where more than 20 percent of sales come from alcohol.

Rochelle Ritchie spoke with the councilman behind the bill and the business owners responsible.

The motive behind the bill is to crack down on liquor stores in parts of Baltimore City. Despite the possibility of losing business, some store owners are supporting the new law.

Gera Variety Store on the 2400-block of Reisterstown Road is still in business after more than 20 years selling everything from potato chips, soda and even alcohol. It's just one of the many reasons City Councilman Nick Mosby proposed a new law prohibiting those 18 and under from shopping at liquor stores for anything, including chips and candy. Many of these places are filled with "sex bills" or cigars and blunt papers.

Mosby says some liquor stores in Baltimore City open a door to minors that should be closed.

"I received an interesting call from a middle school friend and he told me that he used to put his soda in a brown paper bag, so it's that kind of normalization that I want to attack here," Mosby said.

Liquor store owners have been in a constant battle with the city over zoning and licensing owners, and say this is one law they can agree with.

"I'm not worried about the kids. I'd rather not deal with them and if it helps the community, then I have no problem with it," said liquor store owner Mario Chang.

But some argue if teens are looking to get items that are off-limits to them, they will.

"They figure they can drink at any age so they send someone else inside to get the alcohol," said one person.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake plans to sign the bill into law. Mosby hopes they'll be able to take back the neighborhoods, one corner at a time.

"If we are really serious about turning our community around and bring our communities back, we have to attack this systemic ill," Mosby said.

The law will go into effect in 30 days.

Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania all have similar laws banning minors from liquor stores.

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