R Street Continues Push for Relaxing Open Container Laws

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R Street has long supported relaxing open container laws as a way to both create safer drinking environments and revitalize urban spaces. R Street’s Director of State Government Affairs, Marc Hyden, who resides in Georgia, has led the charge in urging more Peach State cities to liberalize their open container laws, and he recently supported testimony in favor of a proposal to do so in Marietta, Georgia:

Over the past several years, the state of Georgia has been updating its alcohol policies to bring them in line with the rest of the country. Indeed, many Georgia cities—Alpharetta, Acworth, Canton, Duluth, Kennesaw, Powder Springs, Smyrna, Stockbridge, Savannah, etc.—have already approved open-air drinking districts, which authorize drinking in specifically designated areas.

These endeavors go hand in hand with the current national movement to permit open containers in entertainment areas…

The problem with prohibitions of open-air drinking is that they might lead to adverse public health effects. The Sport Journal — a peer-reviewed academic periodical — highlighted that some individuals binge drink before alcohol-free events so that they can maintain their buzz for the duration of the event. If these people could drink at the event, then they may not feel the urge to adopt such behavior. Instead, they could nurse their beverages more responsibly over a lengthier period of time…

Furthermore, the creation of an open-air drinking district in Marietta could bring about an economic windfall. It is not a coincidence that a host of new open-air drinking districts have developed across the state. Rather, it seems that open-air drinking districts are good for business. If they are, then relaxing unnecessarily strict alcohol ordinances will attract more development. Beyond this payoff, open-air drinking districts may lure tourists as well as conferences, festivals, concerts and other events, helping local companies thrive and increasing tax revenue…

More here.