I submit to you that we can find more creative ways to combat this problem than committing our police officers to locking away drunks and fining the destitute. One such solution is eliminating single can beer sales.
There are a number of obvious problems that are created by single can beer sales. These include;
- Public drunkenness. Single can beer sales are simply designed to allow someone to crack the top of the can as soon as they walk out of the store.
- Promotion of panhandle. A single can of beer has a small enough cost that a person can panhandle for a very short time and raise the dollar or so that the M&H, Albertson's or the Loaf and Jug charge for a can.
- Ease of evading police. A single can of beer can easily be hidden in a coat or shirt if the police drive by. A six-pack is much harder to hide.
I know, I know. This may seem like a flagrant over-reach by the city against our rights. However, I suggest to you that this is not the case.
Open containers are not legal in vehicles in the State of Montana, or on the streets of Great Falls. Why, then, can an individual purchase a single can of beer at a convenience store? To me, it seems that selling a single can is just an inducement toward violating a city ordinance or State law.
However you view it, opening and drinking a container of alcohol outside in the city (or worse, in your vehicle) is illegal.
We can easily stop it. An ordinance is pending before the city commission that will outlaw single can beer sales in Great Falls. This ordinance will also;
- Require alcohol to be locked up between the hours of 2 a.m. - 6 a.m. (when it is illegal to sell it anyway); and
- Outlaw floor displays of alcohol within a certain distance from the entrance to an establishment.
This ordinance is worthy of your attention. I also submit that it is worthy of your support.