Last Call

Just before Prohibition, the Colorado Legislature gave us 3.2 beer. Now Blake Harrison wants to repeal the scourge.

"With one do-gooder impulse that you can actually make fly, you could sweep away a whole industry and not have a clue what you're doing," he adds.

Today, Harrison is a busy man -- newly married and working as a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. He's the go-to guy for National Public Radio and other major media outlets when they need an expert on the nation's methamphetamine policies. It's work he takes seriously, and he keeps it completely separate from his liquor campaign. He knows people must think he's crazy for devoting so much of his own time to an issue as insignificant as the right to buy alcohol on Sunday, but he doesn't see it that way. "I want to make changes where I can," he says. "It's a responsibility everybody has. If you have the ability to make change, you have a responsibility to do it. And it's fun."

Blake Harrison drinks up at the 3.2 beer taste test.
Mark Manger
Blake Harrison drinks up at the 3.2 beer taste test.

He did consider trying for a 2006 ballot initiative earlier this year, but realized he'd be stretched too thin. That was the mistake he made in 2002 -- trying to fundraise too late and then realizing he didn't have the support. His odds will be much better in 2008, he thinks, because he's planning ahead. Already, the Distilled Spirits Association of the United States, Target and Cost Plus have suggested that they will support him. He's started working on a draft of the new ballot initiative, which is primarily an update of the 1982 initiative.

Twelve-year-old Blake would have been proud: "Here I am, twenty years later, and it still hasn't been changed. And it may be another twenty years, but the arguments are very much the same."

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