Alcohol Bill Submitted Again, With More Supporters - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Alcohol Bill Submitted Again, With More Supporters

Published September 11, 2015

Main photo by
Matthew Eisman

A bill that, if passed, would legalise the sale of alcohol in private shops has been submitted again, and this time it has more support than before.

Kjarninn reports that the bill, the brainchild of Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason, has hit the floors of parliament again. This time around, however, it has the support of several MPs from not only the Independence Party, but also the Progressives, Bright Future, and the Pirate Party.

Amongst other changes, if passed into law, the legislation would change the name of the governing body concerning alcohol and tobacco – the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) – into just “the State Tobacco Company of Iceland”.

Although the sale of alcohol would be allowed in private shops, that would not come without limitations. For example, the sale of alcohol would only be permitted from 9:00 to 20:00, and no one under 18 would be allowed to sell it. The bill argues that allowing the private sale of alcohol would increase competitiveness and variety, be beneficial for people living in the countryside, and would have no long-term effect on how much Icelanders already drink.

Vilhjálmur submitted the bill last year, where it subsequently died in committee. Despite the setback, he vowed to submit it again, though some criticised that it would lead to the increased consumption of alcohol.

Currently, alcohol is only sold by stores that are owned and operated by ÁTVR.

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