Voters approve 1183, bringing booze to grocery stores starting in June. Photo courtesy

Weeks ago the polls had I-1183 retaining a slight edge among Washingtonians, and on Tuesday the liquor privatization bill maintained that lead. The measure passed with 60 percent of the vote.

Under the Costco-backed bill—campaigning for which topped out at over $22 million—Washington State will no longer have a role in the booze business. Private retailers larger than 10,000 square feet will take over sales of hard liquor. According to the Seattle Times the number of merchants expected to sell spirits will jump from 328 to 1,428. Nine hundred state workers—the majority of them employees of state-operated stores—are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the switchover, the Times also reported.

Independent retailers will begin shelving liquor on June 1, 2012.

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