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PLCB not to blame for drinking culture

From:  The Daily Collegian

A letter using Penn State as the example of the failings of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) missed its mark in attempting to prove the state-owned system needs improvement.

Ed Cloonan, representing the Independent State Store Union, used Penn State’s alcohol problem as an example of the failings of the PLCB and said its recent promotions to give away free gift cards for liquor stores was inappropriate.
Penn State does have an alcohol problem, as most college towns do. But Mayor Bill Welch supported the letter’s accusations and added that there is not enough enforcement or education by the PLCB. He said the board should not be using money on advertising.
Welch would prefer to see the State College borough have more control over liquor laws such as happy hours and advertising.
However, PLCB has its own police bureau that appears to be effective in combating underage drinking.
The state-owned liquor system is meant to create profit. Liquor stores would be criticized if they failed to be competitive.
Advertising is part of the free market, and it is acceptable for the state-owned system to use promotions to increase its revenue, which is sorely needed by the cash-strapped commonwealth.
The gift cards — worth $15 — would only be given to those of legal drinking age, so the ads do not perpetuate underage drinking.
The bigger issue that the letter addresses is the overall failings of the state-owned liquor system, one of the few that remains in the country. The monopoly the state holds was implemented due to moral reasons and distrust the free market could be trusted enough to distribute liquor responsibly.
But the arguments posed in the letter have no good basis to convince the state to get rid of a source of revenue during a financial crisis.
There are certainly problems within the state monopoly system, but the arguments presented by the Independent State Store Union are not strong enough to make any changes.
The PLCB’s actions are not to blame for the drinking that thrives at Penn State.
The Daily Collegian’s editorial opinion is determined by its Board of Opinion, with the editor holding final responsibility. Click here to view members of the Board of Opinion.
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