Oxford liquor stores can apply for delivery permits starting July 1

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Oxford and Lafayette County residents will soon have the option to purchase alcohol without leaving their home.

Mississippi’s House Bill (HB) 1135, which legalizes alcohol delivery, goes into effect on Thursday, though that does not mean people will be able to call up their local wine and spirits store and have alcohol at their door that day.

As of July 1, the first day new laws go into effect in Mississippi, liquor stores can begin the application process with the Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control to sell alcohol via delivery service. How long, or short, of a period between a store applying and being approved by the ABC is yet to be determined.

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High Cotton Wine and Spirits Warehouse in Oxford is one of several liquor stores that intend to apply on Thursday, but manager Aaron Herrington still has questions about the entire process.

“To be perfectly honest, (ABC) hasn’t put out any information on it,” Herrington said. “I’ve been in contact with liquor reps and our enforcement officer to kind of get more details on it, but even if you go to ABC’s website right now there’s no real information on how the permitting is even going to work. It’s really kind of vague at this point.”

As of Tuesday, there was no link or page pertaining to the new permit or any application information on the ABC website.

The only known regulations ahead of Thursday are what is included in HB 1135, which states a delivery can only be made within 30 miles of the store selling the alcohol; No deliveries can be made to dry counties or dry municipalities, and delivery drivers must be 21 years of age or older.

Third party delivery services such as DoorDash and Bite Squad will also be able to apply for delivery permits, though Herrington intends to use his own drivers.

“It just makes more sense to do your own delivery versus paying somebody else to deliver for you,” Herrington said. “I’m surprised the state even opened up home delivery because I do feel like there are a lot of liability issues. You deliver to a party and even though the person at the door is 21 and there’s clearly a lot of underage people in there.”

The ability of enforcement is something local police departments have already considered. Oxford police chief Jeff McCutchen said he has had some initial discussions with ABC but have formal meetings scheduled regarding the delivery permit.

Delivery drivers must verify the person who made the purchase is the one receiving it at the door. When it comes to ensuring the alcohol that is delivered is consumed by people over the legal age, McCutchen stated if a proper sale was made and then verified upon delivery, the responsibility and liability then falls on the people inside the residence.

“I’m thinking from a business side and if I’m delivering and I deliver to a 21-year-old and that’s exactly the order I was supposed to deliver to them and if that’s a clean sale and then they use it, criminally, to give to minors then that would then fall on the person who did that part,” McCutchen said. “It wouldn’t be necessarily a business issue.”