STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Stone County is no longer a dry county. Tuesday, a majority of voters decided in favor of a referendum to bring the county out from under the state's alcohol prohibition law.
Even with this vote, the issue is complicated. Residents will be allowed to possess beer, wine, and liquor in the county. But sales of adult beverages will only be allowed in the municipalities. In Stone County, that means the city of Wiggins.
The sale of light wine and beer was already legal in Wiggins, and city leaders just recently voted to allow those sales on Sundays. With Tuesday's vote, Wiggins businesses will now be allowed to sell liquor and wine that contains more than 5 percent alcohol, but not on Sundays.
Many of those in favor of the change hope it will also have a positive economic effect.
"I think it'll help the businesses because up here, without the ability to sell alcohol, you restrict the commercial development of restaurants," Wiggins Resident Gerry Besse told WLOX News before election day.
"It'll be good for the county. It'll be good for the economy. A lot of people, myself, we drive down to the coast to get wine and what not, and that's gas money, that's other money getting spent on the coast," said restaurant manager Keith Culpepper. "I think it'll be good to see the place grow a little bit too."
"It's a good thing. We should vote for it. We should keep our tax dollars right where we live. Spend the money here. Help Wiggins get built up, take care of the roads and schools," said Linda Rayburn of Stone County.
A citizen's group petitioned to put the issue on the Nov. 3 ballot.