The Maui County Liquor Control Commission, which regulates licenses for the importation, manufacture and sale of alcohol within Maui County, has liberalized certain County rules on the sale of alcohol: holders of liquor licenses are now generally permitted to sell alcohol to customers 24 hours per day. Retailers had previously been restricted to selling alcohol during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., while hotels were permitted to serve until 4:00 a.m. Under the new rules, both are subject to the same standards.

The individual effects of the new rules will probably take some time to play out: some stores that routinely close at 11:00 p.m. might remain open; other stores that already remain open beyond 11:00 p.m. might begin selling alcohol after that time; still other stores might not change their operations at all.

Although the new rules also apply to manufacturers and wholesalers, much of the controversy surrounding their enactment has been directed towards retail and hotel sales. Representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaii and the local police department have expressed reservations about the new rules. Members of a newly formed advocacy group, Coalition to Repeal 24-Hour Alcohol Sales, have claimed that in addition to increased drunk driving risks, the new rules will also lead to greater “temptation for the youth, homeless and anyone fighting addiction.”

The real estate implications of the new rules are likely to be mixed. On the one hand, landlords of retail shopping centers generally want to drive foot traffic to their centers (for example, in order to maximize percentage rent). On the other, the increased risks associated with intoxicated customers wandering into liquor stores at 3:00 a.m. could prove material.