The sale of hard liquor in Vineyard Haven restaurants moved a step closer to reality this month, with Gov. Charlie Baker signing special legislation to allow the measure.

The question now will return to Tisbury voters on a ballot in an upcoming election.

The selectmen have the choice of putting the question on the annual town ballot in the spring or waiting until the state election in 2018. They are scheduled to discuss the matter at their meeting Jan. 24.

The town can currently issue 19 beer and wine licenses for restaurants with 30 or more seats. Beer and wine can only be served with a meal. If the ballot question passes, serving liquor will be subject to the same restrictions.

Selectman and board chairman Melinda Loberg said she hopes to see the question put on the town ballot in April.

“I certainly think a townwide ballot is our target audience,” she told the Gazette this week. “I think it’s a little unreasonable since we have the legislation to wait two years for our business to see any process.”

Tisbury voters agreed to allow the sale of beer and wine in restaurants in 2010.

At the annual town meeting last year a petitioned article to allow the sale of hard liquor in restaurants was approved 136 to 63. The matter then went to the state legislature for approval. Governor Baker signed the bill on Jan. 5 after it had cleared the house and senate.

Mrs. Loberg said she believes current beer and wine license holders would not have to reapply for a license that includes liquor if the question passes. However, she noted the selectmen have yet to discuss the process.

Demographics: