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There is no mention in California State law that beer must be placed in a bag prior to leaving the store. However, cities and counties may have oridinances related to this.
I live in Northern CA, purchase beer at Safeway, Costco, and liquor stores and it has never been placed in a bag.
Can you explain your situation a bit more? Were you stopped while carrying a six pack of beer? Was it a six-pack that is attached with the plastic holders on each can, or was it in the cardboard carrying case?
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