The Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City was created by Act of the State Legislature after the repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933. Prior to Prohibition, alcoholic beverage licenses were issued directly by the Clerk of what was then referred to as the Court of Common Pleas. There was little intervention on the part of the public, zoning or other authorities, and alcoholic beverage licenses were routinely issued as in the case of Trader's Licenses, marriage licenses, etc.
When the Volstead Act was repealed, it became apparent that appropriate controls and licensing of alcoholic beverages at the retail level were necessary in the State of Maryland to insure public safety. Boards of Liquor License Commissioners were, therefore, created in all of the political sub-divisions in the State of Maryland by act of the Maryland General Assembly. Article 2B of the Annotated Code of Maryland was the enabling legislation and remains as the alcoholic beverage statute for the State of Maryland. There have been many changes in the law since 1933, and at each session of the Maryland General Assembly, new laws and statutes are introduced and passed which affect the operation of alcoholic beverage establishments in Baltimore City and throughout the State of Maryland.
The Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City is an agency of the State. Every two years, the Governor, with the advice and consent of the City Senators, appoints three individuals to serve as Commissioners on the Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City, one of whom is designated as the Chairman. As a body, the Board administers the statutes, laws, ordinances and its own Rules and Regulations regarding the operation of alcoholic beverage establishments in Baltimore City. Currently, there are approximately 1,470 alcoholic beverage establishments in Baltimore City which is a reduction from the approximately 2,200 licenses there were in 1968.