The Icelandic Federation of Trade (FA) is unhappy with the bill to allow the sale of alcohol in stores – for not going far enough.
RÚV reports that FA has cast a number of doubts on a re-submitted bill which would legalise the sale of alcohol in stores. Currently, it can only be bought in select bars, restaurants, and government-owned liquor outlets.
FA points out that the lack of a competitive environment in Iceland would enable major players in the retail industry to decide which products get sold and which do not. Smaller business owners, they argue, would be left having to deal with whatever major corporations decided. They also point out that the legislation does not make it clear which types of alcohol may be sold off the shelves, and which kinds would be required to be kept under lock and key behind the counter.
In addition, FA argues that legalising the sale of alcohol in stores would make little sense without also legalising the advertising of alcohol. As it stands now, only the “light” (i.e., practically non-alcoholic) versions of popular alcoholic beverages may be advertised.
Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason, the main proponent of the bill, is confident the bill will ultimately pass. This is despite the fact that the same or similar bills have died on the floor six times already, and about two-thirds of Icelanders are against allowing the sale of alcohol in stores.