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Washington State Privatizes Liquor Sales, Reverses Prohibition-Era Liquor Law

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Washington voters have approved a plan to privatize liquor sales, siding with Costco in the costliest initiative campaign in state history.

Unofficial results Tuesday night showed the measure passing with widespread support. Costco Wholesale Corp. committed $22 million to supporting the measure, which will dismantle controls that have been in place since Prohibition.

Wholesalers provided much of the opposition funding, as retailers will now be able to bypass them and buy product directly from producers. About 1,000 people who currently operate the state's system will lose their jobs.

Costco had backed another privatization measure that failed last year. The latest one includes more revenue for state and local governments, as well as stricter controls on what stores can sell liquor.

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