Permits to sell alcohol in stores and restaurants are worth a lot, which can sometimes cause predatory business practices and contentious political battles between tenants and landlords.

In Pacific Beach, a limit on the number of permits allowed in the area has made them extremely valuable. Existing liquor licenses in the beach community can sell for between $100,000 and up to $1 million.

Applications for new licenses face a lot of neighborhood pushback, so they’re difficult to get. This squeeze on the supply of licenses in Pacific Beach is causing tensions between tenants who own the licenses and landlords who want them.

Political battles over liquor permits have played out in City Heights and National City, too.

In this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7 San Diego’s Monica Dean and Voice of San Diego’s Maya Srikrishnan dig in to the drama behind alcohol permits.

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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