John J. Harris*
Tallahassee 301 South Bronough Street Suite 600 Tallahassee, Florida 32301
John’s foundation of knowledge in alcohol beverage and tobacco regulations; government processes; government decision makers; alcohol beverage dealer training; and liquor and business licensing were developed during his 28-year government career. Serving under six governors, his entire government career was with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco, (“ABT”), retiring after leading the agency for eight years as its deputy director and director. Today, John has over 51 years of experience in government and consulting. His government career began at ABT working in the mail room. He was promoted to serve in every law enforcement position there, as well as the division’s hearing officer, Chief of Enforcement, Administrator Hearing Officer, administrative rules and laws expert, "tied house" and trade practices expert, licensing expert and director. He was also appointed interim director of Florida's Pari-Mutuel Wagering Division; and interim secretary for the Florida Department of Business Regulation. John retired from public service in 1996 when he and attorney, Richard Blau, formed a group of lawyers and former state and federal alcohol agency administrators who are GrayRobinson's Alcohol Beverage, Regulated Products, and Business and Professional License Team, consulting clients throughout the United States for the last 22 years.
John’s clients include all tiers of the alcohol industry (manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, exporters, brand owners, and retailers); capital fund managers, regarding ownership structure and compliance with state alcohol “tied house” policies; the food industry; and professionals and businesses required to be licensed. GrayRobinson’s Licensing Team prepares federal, state, and local liquor, business, and professional license applications. John’s expertise is working with executive branch government agencies and legislators.
John represents clients before city, county, state and federal tax, enforcement, and licensing agencies. His practice includes licensing; state tax; enforcement notices; formal complaints; compliance certifications; drafting language for administrative rules; drafting language for legislative bills; drafting petitions for declaratory statements; drafting petitions for administrative rule waivers; reviewing responsible alcohol dealer serving practices; analyzing alcohol beverage criminal and civil complaints; compliance with regulations; and knowledge about government agencies and key staff members. He has been recognized by the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators, the National Alcohol Beverage Control State’s Association, the American Bar Association, attorneys, consultants, government agencies, legislative leaders, professionals, business owners, non-profit groups, and industry associations. He also has experience solving business and professional licensing and regulatory problems with local and state executive-branch agencies. He continues to be involved with new and amended many of Florida current alcohol regulations and law. His widespread knowledge and 50 years of experience of alcohol laws, regulations, licensing, trade practices, government policies, and how government agencies operate gives him a unique consulting perspective to assist clients on compliance questions, understanding government policies, creative solutions to problems, and drafting language for new state policies.
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* Denotes non-attorney professional