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Efforts continue to gather signatures to get liquor, beer on November ballot

Efforts continue to gather signatures of qualified Walthall County voters in order to put the question of legal liquor and/or beer sales on the November ballot.
A few weeks back, petitions were set up at Market Max 98 and about 400 signatures were gathered over a four-hour period.
A second organized signing took place last Thursday at Market Max, corner Hwy. 48 and 198 between 7 a.m. and noon.
While those two petition drives were set up outside the stores and only for the two dates, there are several locations throughout Walthall County where petitions are set up permanently for voters to sign. Those locations include Hwy. 48 Grocery-”The Blue Store,” Dexter Grocery, Improve Grocery, Pigott Oil Co., Laird’s Tire and Auto, Graves Cycle and Amelia J’s Salon.
Voters are reminded they must sign their name as it appears on the county poll books. Additionally, voters can sign only once for each of the petitions–once for liquor, once for beer and light wine–as, if successful, voters will be asked to vote two separate issues–on legalized sale of liquor and again on legalized sale of beer and light wine.
A new law signed by Gov. Tate Reeves revokes prohibition in the state and makes possession of light wine, beer and liquor legal statewide effective Jan. 1, 2021.
However, residents must still exercise local option in deciding if alcohol can be sold in a county.
In recent years, proponents of beer and alcohol sales have pointed to the amount of sales tax revenue leaving the county on all sides as consumers cross county lines to make their beverage alcohol purchases. They charge, that most of those consumers usually will purchase groceries and make other purchases, resulting in additional lost revenue to the county and town.
Most counties in the state have already voted in favor of legal liquor. According to the Department of Revenue there are only 29 out of 82 counties that are dry for alcohol; and 31 counties that are dry for beer and light wine.
But even that count is misleading. Of the 29 dry-for-liquor counties in the state, only 10 of those counties are totally dry as 19 counties contain areas or municipalities where liquor sales are legal within a “dry” county.
And although the wet-dry map for beer and light wine shows 31 dry counties for those beverages, there are only six totally dry counties, as the remainder contain municipalities and areas where sales of beer and light wine are legal.
So, in reality, only a small handful of counties exists in the state where one cannot legally purchase alcohol.
Walthall is one of those totally dry counties, although surrounded on all sides by counties (or municipalities) where sale is legal.
Mississippi has always had an odd relationship with alcoholic beverages as temperance laws were enacted not long after achieving statehood. Mississippi was the first state to pass some form of prohibition in 1908, 10 years before the U.S. passed the 18th Amendment. Mississippi was the first state to ratify the 18th amendment.’
When the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition in 1933, 36 states ratified it in 288 days.
Although beer sales in Mississippi were allowed by local option, liquor sales in the state did not become legal until 1966 when Mississippi became the last state to repeal its statewide Prohibition law.

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