Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) this past week told a community forum that to pay for the Kirwan Commission’s $ 4 billion educational spending recommendations, the state should legalize and control the sale of marijuana.[i]  According to Bethesda Beat, Elrich’s vision includes the state government controlling marijuana dispensaries, much like how the county government operates its liquor stores.

Among the many, many problems with Elrich’s proposal for paying for Kirwan, the county-run liquor stores actually lose money.

According to a more detailed financial analysis recently completed for the County Council, the liquor monopoly’s net profit is entirely due to its wholesale warehouse operation. The County’s retail operation, its twenty-five stores with a monopoly on selling hard liquor, in fact, loses money. The loss is about $5 million a year.[ii]

Overall, six of the 25 Alcohol Beverage Service retail stores showed a profit and 19 showed a loss in the fiscal year ending this past June. The performance of individual stores was varied. The best produced a $299,000 profit.  The worst generated a $470,000 loss. The county agency acknowledged that the retail stores were in the red in fiscal 2018 and will be again in 2020. <more>