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After decades of listening to restaurateurs gripe about the often prohibitively high cost of a liquor license, New Jersey lawmakers are poised to debate a bill that could dramatically lower their price and increase the quantity available. Since 1947, the state has restricted the number of licenses a municipality can issue, basing the formula on population. The limit has been raised several times since; currently, a town may issue up to one plenary retail consumption license, which allows for on-premises consumption at bars and restaurants, per every 3,000 residents and up to one plenary retail distribution license, which permits off-premises retail sales at liquor stores, per 7,500 residents. A municipality may choose to allow fewer or none of these plenary licenses, while localities with fewer than 3,000 or 7,500 people may issue a total of one license per category.

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