New York City -- Voters in the state of Washington on Tuesday approved a plan to privatize liquor sales, siding with Costco Wholesale Corp. in the costliest initiative campaign in state history, the Associated Press reported. The measure will end Washington's state-run liquor system, which was formed in the 1930s in the aftermath of Prohibition.
Costco had committed $22 million to supporting the measure – or $6 for every registered voter -- as executives portrayed the company as a crusader for consumers and said that it could take years to make up the investment in the initiative, the report said.
Costco also harnessed support from restaurants, groceries and other retailers, including Trader Joe’s.
Wholesalers provided much of the opposition funding, as retailers will now be able to bypass them and buy product directly from producers, the report said. The new rules go into effect in June. About 1,000 people who currently operate the state's system will lose their jobs.