Fargo’s liquor code is a complicated conglomerate of high start up costs, secondary markets, and twenty-six distinct types of licenses. Its convoluted structure is a cultural and economic bottleneck that obstructs economic growth and is counter to the public’s well-being. This system has not been created intentionally or negligently, but has become trapped by path dependency and the lack of a holistic plan.
Moving forward, city officials have the opportunity to create a new system that provides opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs while ensuring that all license holders are held responsible for their actions. In order for reform to be meaningful, however, it must address the economic, cultural, and community shortcomings of the current code.