Grand Nation to host Captain Erik Smoot of the ABLE Commission Aug. 20 to discuss key changes that area business owners, law enforcement and state residents need to be aware of before new liquor laws take effect Oct. 1.

VINITA –In November 2016, Oklahomans approved State Question 792, which changed the laws governing alcohol manufacturing, sales and distribution in the state.

The most visible provisions in the law have been those that allow for the sale of high-point beer and wine in convenience and grocery stores.

However, when the law goes into effect on Oct. 1, there are a number of other key changes that business owners, law enforcement and state residents need to be aware of, including the times when alcohol can be sold, that anyone who sells or serves alcohol must have a liquor license, and what alcoholic beverages will be allowed on Grand Lake, to name just a few.

To reduce confusion and provide much-needed information about the state’s changing alcoholic beverage laws, officials with Grand Nation has invited Captain Erik Smoot of the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission to address its monthly meeting Monday, Aug. 20.

The ABLE Commission is charged with protecting the public welfare and interest in the enforcement of the laws pertaining to alcoholic beverages, charity games and youth access to tobacco. The new law places all oversight of beer and wine sales in the jurisdiction of the ABLE Commission, which already deals with licensing for liquor stores.

At the Grand Nation meeting, Smoot will explain the upcoming changes and what it will mean when SQ 792 takes effect. There will also be a question-and-answer period. Smoot said he will allow as much time as needed in order to answer everyone’s questions.

“We have really tried to get out and let people know about the changing law,” Smoot said. “At these meetings, we find that people have a lot of questions that need to be answered.”

When asked who should attend the Grand Nation meeting, Smoot said that “anybody who has any interest in alcohol.”

“Anyone who has a business that sells beer, wine or liquor should attend. Law enforcement personnel should come,” Smoot said. “And citizens who want to know how the law affects them should attend as well.”

The doors open at 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 20, with the meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. at the South Grand Lake Christian Church, East 350 Road, Vinita. Refreshments will be served.

“We encourage anyone, especially businesspeople and law enforcement, to come to the meeting,” said Grand Nation Executive Director Jennifer Hinson. “If you have any questions about the changing laws, now is the time to ask. The meeting is free and open to the public.”

Grand Nation will also kick off its Did You Know? campaign that is designed to let people know about the changing alcoholic beverage laws and how it will affect them.

The campaign will include the distribution of flyers with information about the upcoming changes. Flyers will be available at the meeting for anyone interested in displaying one at their business.

The Did You Know? campaign is a project of Grand Nation’s Ga Du Gi program. Funded by the Drug-Free Communities Program (DFC), which is provided to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use, the Ga Du Gi program works to reduce substance use among youth and, over time, adults.

In addition, Ga Du Gi addresses under-age drinking, adult binge drinking and alcohol, tobacco and prescription drug abuse through a variety of projects, including Responsible Recreation.

Grand Nation is a nonprofit grassroots coalition serving the Grand Lake area since 2012. An umbrella organization for a number of different programs, Grand Nation joins families seeking a better life with the resources and community organizations that can help them achieve their goal.

Located at 123 S. Wilson, in Vinita, Grand Nation serves the communities of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, including Vinita, Grove, Jay, Afton, Ketchum, Langley, Miami, Bluejacket and Spavinaw.

For more information on the monthly meeting, persons interested may contact Hinson at 918-609-0236 or visit www.grandnation.org or the Grand Nation Inc. Facebook page.