The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has voted to lift a longstanding rule prohibiting liquor stores from operating within a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) of each other.
The Detroit News reports approval Tuesday from the three-member panel allows the rulemaking process to proceed.
The proposal prompted public safety and business concerns.
Michigan legislators could intervene, however, before the rule is officially revoked.
Some liquor store owners say that they built or bought their businesses with the expectation that other stores couldn't open within a half-mile.
They also say that because Michigan sets minimum liquor prices their ability to compete already is limited.
Commission Chairman Andrew Deloney says he doesn't think state government should provide liquor stores with "protection" from competition.
The state says Michigan retail liquor sales topped $1 billion in 2016.