Stone Co. residents skeptical of new alcohol referendum - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Stone Co. residents skeptical of new alcohol referendum

The majority of voters in Stone County passed a referendum lifting prohibition in November. (Photo source: WLOX) The majority of voters in Stone County passed a referendum lifting prohibition in November. (Photo source: WLOX)
STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The majority of voters in Stone County passed a referendum lifting prohibition in November, but some people in the county are now saying the change is not all they hoped it would be.

Those in favor of ending prohibition in Stone County say the economic impact will be well worth the vote. Passing the referendum opens the possibility for more restaurants, hotels, bars and other businesses to call Stone County home.

While some are excited to see this change, others aren't so enthusiastic.

"The bottom line is it's going to bring in the clientele that you don't want to deal with," said Colby Breland.

Breland worries the only benefit will be seen by the businesses selling the liquor. He owns property nearby and said he's afraid the value of his property will go down as a result of the referendum. 

Lawrence Simpson takes a different stance against the changes.

"The only people who will benefit is the City of Wiggins. The county benefits none," said Simpson.

Simpson lives outside the city limits and actually voted for the changes, but he didn't realize that the terms would limit what he could possess in the county. For instance, he said if he had both beer and whiskey on his property, he could still get in trouble under the new law.

"They can arrest me for having that six pack of beer, but they can't bother me for having that fifth of whiskey," said Simpson.

Patti Saia sees the referendum as a step in the right direction. She owns McDaniel's General Store in McHenry.

Although Saia thought she would be able to sell beer at her store once prohibition was lifted, that wasn't the case. She said she should have read the referendum in detail.

"I didn't do that, so I wasn't fully informed," said Saia.

She believes it's all a part of paving the way for future sales.

"It's just part of a process. I think we will evolve to the point that the county will decide what they want to do as a county," Saia said.

According to Wiggins Mayor Joel Miles, there is always the possibility of beer sales in the county in the future if the correct steps are taken.

"With government, everything's a slow process. Nothing happens overnight. To sell beer in the county, there would have to be another petition drive probably to present the board of supervisors as the liquor was presented to the board of supervisors for an election," said Miles.

Liquor sales will be legal in Wiggins after a notice has run in the local newspaper for 30 days. The selling of alcohol, and possession of beers and light wine, outside the city limits will still be prohibited.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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