- Associated Press - Thursday, October 29, 2015

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City officials, community leaders and law enforcement are considering banning the sale of certain single-serve beer for off-site consumption in an effort to curb public intoxication.

The Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/1kdlvvt ) reports that consideration of the idea of banning the sale of high-power malt liquor stemmed from a round table discussion last month over possible solutions to homelessness and alcohol addiction in downtown Sioux City.

“We talked about a ban on the sale of individual high-power malt liquor beverages to a vulnerable community,” local Native activist Frank LaMere said.

Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young said controlling the sale of single cans of alcoholic beverages might ease the problem, but noted a ban could be difficult to implement. Young said he does support the single-serve sales restriction, which likely would be limited to drinks with alcohol content greater than 6 percent.

Because Iowa liquor sales and licenses are regulated by the state, even if the City Council approved a local ordinance to restrict such sales, it likely would not stand up in court, according to local officials.

Law enforcement officials say single containers are generally less than two dollars and are often drank outdoors, near the sale location.

“I cringe at the thought when I see people leave the convenience store with a sack and a big 40-ounce bottle, probably knowing within a mile or two that it’s going to be opened,” Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew said.

City officials said the idea of a ban is only in the early stages of discussion.

Similar initiatives to regulate alcohol have been unsuccessful in Whiteclay, Nebraska, where the sale of single-can beer contributes to alcohol abuse on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The reservation, which prohibits alcohol sales, is just across the border, within walking distance of the town.

Natives account for 48 percent of arrests for public intoxication in Sioux City, according to police data.

Drew said he hopes to continue discussion about alcohol abuse and the homeless because taxpayers pick up the ongoing cost for medical treatment of homeless inmates.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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