This proposal in a (very small) nutshell states:
This proposed law would allow local licensing authorities to issue licenses for food stores to sell wine.The Sentinel opines it's a good thing, apparently mostly because they are "believers in the value of free markets" and don't see any harm from it. Local liquor stores understandably oppose it, and the argument they seem to be using is that it would make it easier for underage drinkers to get access to wine. To me, that argument seems pretty absurd. Everyone knows teenagers love a good glass of Merlot, but I just don't see their argument being backed up by reality. Additionally, their scare tactics (hell, the website linked above has a picture of a wrecked car on the front page) are going to just make most people laugh at them.
The small liquor stores have a better argument they should be using though, and it's that this proposal benefits big business while harming small shops.
Supermarkets can and do already sell wine and other alcohol. However, per Mass General Law:
No person, firm, corporation, association, or other combination of persons,[...] shall be granted, in the aggregate, more than three such licenses in the commonwealth.What this means is that with some exceptions larger chains like Hannaford and Stop & Shop are limited to three liquor licenses statewide.
So it's not really a supermarket vs liquor store argument, it's a big chain vs independent store argument.
Frankly, I don't even really know how I'll vote on this one. I'm reluctant to support big corporations over local businesses, but Massachusetts has some pretty absurd liquor laws, and the more that can be done to chip away at those the better. It's not hard to predict that if this passes the next step will be to add beer to the list of approved liquors for "food stores", and possibly an attempt at harder liquors after that. More availability=more consumer choice, which in my eyes is a good thing.
I expect it to pass with no problem. Not based on any polling (I haven't looked at any), just based on the fact that most people prefer convenience. It is worth a bit more thought than you might have at first glance, though. It could sound the death knell for some local businesses, which is never a good thing. But it certainly has potential benefits as well.
Obviously, decide based on what matters most to you. I'm voting "Maybe".