This week’s Backtalk is all about acronyms. First, ABC—more specifically, Leigh Tauss’s cover story last week about the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s soon-to-be-enforced rule that could kick a lot of North Carolina-made spirits off the ABC store shelves, as well as lawmakers’ plans to modernize the agency. 

Several readers, including Virginia Joines, back state representative Chuck McGrady’s plan to privatize the system: “The whole ABC thing baffles me. I came from a state where hard liquor was sold in grocery stores, right alongside beer and wine. It worked just fine.” 

Tony Keck offers a more nuanced take: “It’s a catch-22. ABC keeps prices reasonable. Privatizing will allow stores to price what they want where they want—for instance, most allocated bottles will double or triple in price or more. (Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year Bourbon, for an extreme example, has an MSRP of $269.99 but sells in privatized stores and on secondary markets for $3,000–$4,000.) 

“But while I like that ABC keeps prices low and consistent, it also means we get shit on with variety. If state warehouses won’t order it, then we don’t see it, and because of the way ABC runs shit, even stuff that we can get is very limited. 

“In my opinion, the state will never privatize alcohol sales. They stand to lose too much by doing so. So what they need to do is loosen the reins a little and trust that the consumers will consume. Stop with the one million flavors of vodka and bullshit-flavored whiskey. There are more people out there drinking than just college students who have no idea what good whiskey is.”

The next acronym: CBD, in reference to Katie Jane Fernelius’s story on the state’s warning that selling CBD-infused foods and supplements is illegal because the FDA considers CBD a drug. 

Writes Lindsey Paydon: “What? CBD has no psychoactive properties whatsoever! What makes it a drug? It’s just a silly health fad that has little to no effect on people. It’s like drinking herbal tea. [The state] is wasting taxpayer money by spending any time or effort on this. The only things they should be monitoring are false health claims.”

Rhiannon Fionn adds: “This is about CBD isolate and its inclusion in Epidiolex, an FDA-approved drug owned by GW Pharmaceuticals. The letter the state is sending out makes it very clear: This is about protecting Epidiolex.”

Finally, ADU—as in, the accessory dwelling units Raleigh has been debating seemingly forever. The city council looked set to pass an ordinance Tuesday night, after the INDY went to press, that would effectively give a homeowner’s neighbors a veto over his or her ability to build an ADU. 

Mike Shumake argues that such a law is too restrictive: “I. Just. Want. The. Option. I own the property, right? This doesn’t do that. They are saying it will ‘hurt neighborhoods.’ That means they don’t want people to have inexpensive housing options inside rich neighborhoods. 

“It’s my property. I’m indignant. This is good for me. It prevents urban sprawl. It helps me make my mortgage. And it provides affordable housing in Raleigh, which is something we’re supposed to be working on. Why make this impossible? I own property in Raleigh because I bought when it was affordable. It is not anymore. ADUs would allow me to invest in my property, to invest in Raleigh. But now I can’t because these regulations make it impossible.”

“I sat in a council meeting and witnessed some council members scold the public for pitting neighbor against neighbor over a sidewalk issue,” argues Tom Anderson. “This ordinance does just that. I can’t imagine neighborhood relations are going to be good when someone refuses to support their neighbor’s application.”

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