The other night we compared the end of Prohibition to the move in some states to legalize pot. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the states came up with their own individual ways of regulating alcohol sales. Some states to this day are "control states," which means that you buy your booze from the state instead of, say, a licensed private liquor store.
That's why, as Rachel pointed out, in some states, you end up buying beer in a place that looks like a prison. And that's why the state of Utah (a control state) will helpfully order Mezcal for you and serve as your personal sommelier!
In our story, though, we made a mistake. We included Washington on the list of control states. Turns out, as of this past June, after more than 70 years, Washington is no longer a control state. Voters in the state approved Initiative 1183 in 2011, which privatized alcohol sales in the state.
As it turns out, the control state model is in flux in other states, too. In Pennsylvania, state lawmakers have tried (and so far failed) to introduce legislation that would privatize alcohol sales. In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell was defeated last year in his attempt to privatize that state's ABC stores. In New Hampshire, too, they've had lots of back and forth about attempts to privatize alcohol sales -- at least partially.
So nearly eight decades after the end of Prohibition, some states are still trying to figure out exactly what role they should have in the sale and distribution of booze -- which makes the control state model being applied to pot all the more interesting.