John J. Harris

John J. Harris
Government Consultant

301 South Bronough Street
Suite 600
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Phone: 850-577-9090
Fax: 850-577-3311
Direct: 850-577-5491

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 more than 48 years of experience in government and as a consultant. 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, administrative rules and laws expert, and director. He was also appointed interim director of Florida’s Pari-Mutuel Wagering Division; and interim secretary for the Department of Business Regulation. John retired from public service in 1996 to work with an attorney, and they formed a group of lawyers and professionals who now comprise GrayRobinson’s Alcohol Beverage and Regulated Products Team, consulting clients throughout the United States for the last 20 years.

John’s clients include all tiers of the alcohol industry (manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, brand owners, and retailers) as well as capital fund managers, the food industry, and professionals required to be licensed by states. GrayRobinson’s Licensing Team prepares state and local liquor, business, and professional license applications including federal license applications.

John represents clients before city, county, state and federal licensing agencies. His practice includes licensing; tax audits; enforcement notices; formal complaints; compliance certifications; drafting administrative rules; drafting bills for legislative action; drafting petitions for declaratory statements; drafting petitions for administrative rule waivers; responsible alcohol dealer serving practices; analyzing alcohol beverage criminal and civil complaints; compliance with regulations; and meets with government decision makers and their staff. 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, and non-profit groups. He also has experience solving business and professional licensing and regulatory problems with local and state executive-branch agencies. He has drafted many of Florida’s alcohol regulations and laws, while working for both ABT and GrayRobinson. His widespread knowledge of alcohol laws, regulations, government policies, and how the government operates give him a unique consulting perspective to assist clients.

Areas of concentration:
• Alcohol beverage dealer responsible selling and serving practices
• Alcohol beverage, tobacco and business licensing/registrations (retail, wholesale, import, manufacturer)
• Alcohol beverage and tobacco compliance guidance and analysis
• Represents clients before executive and legislative branches of government
• Expert witness on responsible dealing in alcohol beverage and tobacco products and alcohol beverage regulations
• Administrative rule drafting
• Legislative bill drafting
• Petitions for declaratory statements and rule waiver drafting
• Evaluating complaints alleging violations of alcohol beverage, tobacco and food service laws and administrative rules (formal administrative complaints, civil complaints, and criminal complaints)
• Professionals and business licensing/registrations

* Denotes non-attorney professional

Areas of Practice
• Tobacco
• Medical Marijuana
• Government
• Alcohol Beverage

Florida State University, B.S. criminology (1970)
– Post Graduate Certification, public administration and course work in administrative law
University of Virginia (1978)
– Post Graduate Studies, constitutional and evidence laws
FBI National Academy (1978)

Professional Associations & Memberships
• FBI National Academy Associates
• State Law Enforcement Chiefs Association, Past President
• The National Alcohol Beverage Control (States) Association
• National Conference of State Liquor Administrators

• Rotary Club of Tallahassee, President, 2011-2012
• Boys and Girls Club, Founding Director – Tallahassee area
• Economic Club of Florida
• United Way, Miami and Tallahassee, Florida
• Second Chance Scholarship Sponsor, Tallahassee Community College
• Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy Scholarship Sponsor, Florida State University
• World Polio Immunization

Articles & Publications
• Southern Beverage Journal Magazine, monthly columnist, 2007 – present
• “Distinguishing Myth From Law When it Comes to Alcohol Regulatory Compliance,” Fintech Focus, May 2014
• “Alcohol Beverages & Tobacco Regulation: Questions and Answers,” Petrogram Magazine, Fall 2008
• “Picking and Keeping Law Enforcement Officers in Florida,” Florida Police Chief Magazine, May 1997
• Co-Author, “Florida Tobacco Control Legislation,” The Journal of the Florida Medical Association, Inc., 1996
• “Picking and Keeping Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers in Florida,” Criminal Justice In Context: Crime and the Community, October 1994
• Food & Beverage News Magazine, monthly columnist, 1985-1996

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