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New Yorkers Oppose Internet Liquor Sales

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – New Yorkers are overwhelmingly opposed to a plan that would allow alcohol sales over the Internet. That's according to a new poll released Monday by Zogby International.

The poll showed 82 percent oppose Internet alcohol sales. Even more, 89 percent, thought such sales would give minors easier access to alcohol. Kris O'Hanlon is president of the Eastern New York Liquor Stores Association, the group that commissioned the poll. O'Hanlon says most New Yorkers believe Internet sales have poor controls against underage drinking.

"Eighty-six percent feel that it's not controlled, or regulated, or tracked by authorities for this type of sale and also that UPS and Fed Ex would not be diligent in checking the IDs when it was delivered to houses -- something that would be done at the 'brick and mortar' stores," said O'Hanlon.

Stings in other states have confirmed how easy it easy for minors to purchase alcohol over the internet. New York currently bans Internet sales. However, a budget proposal by Governor George Pataki would erase the ban. If approved, the Governor's plan would only allow the internet purchase of wine. O'Hanlon says Pataki position is a disturbing switch.

"The Governor in '95 vetoed this same legislation and I'm at a loss to understand why he would change his stance on this, but apparently he has since he's included it in his budget," said O'Hanlon. "But I would say the Governor was right the first time and there's just too many problems with this to allow this."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme court has agreed to rule on the constitutionality of New York's current ban against the sales. However, substance abuse advocates have also come out against any alcohol Internet sales. They say allowing the sales is tantamount to giving teens the keys to the liquor cabinet.