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California ABC: Thou Shalt Not Mix Thy Weed and Alcohol

abcstar 72As the first year of legal marijuana sales in California gets under way, California Alcoholic Beverage Control has moved to quickly to clarify the ways in which alcohol and marijuana should mix-that is, not at all.

In a new industry advisory aimed at alcohol license holders, the department has provided a little early mythbusting around the idea of combined alcohol-marijuana business ventures. Although many would-be entrepreneurs leapt to declare intentions to create marijuana infused booze, or to conduct marijuana-and-wine pairings, these are strictly verboten under the law as currently constructed. As ABC reminds, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations and Safety Act prohibits stores from selling alcohol and/or tobacco in the same location as marijuana products.

That means no:

  • cannabis dispensing at bars
  • roving sellers at nightclubs
  • pairings of alcohol and marijuana
  • cannabis-infused beverages (since by definition, a cannabis-and-alcohol beverage would be cannabis sold in the same place as alcohol!)

In addition, ABC specifies that there can't be "pass-throughs," where a dispensary is at the back of a bar.

"These are common-sense regulations. Legal cannabis shouldn't be used just to tighten Big Alcohol's stranglehold on California," said Bruce Lee Livingston, CEO/Executive Director of Alcohol Justice.

For questions or more information, go to http://abc.ca.gov.

READ MORE about how California must not make the same mistakes with marijuana regulation as it did with alcohol.

A Personal Message from Alcohol Justice's Bruce Livingston

Dear Friends,

I've got two teenage boys, and I'm fighting Big Alcohol to protect them and all youth from the annual US catastrophe of over 88,000 alcohol-related deaths, and $250 billion in alcohol-related harm.

Everybody knows somebody whose life had been interrupted or ended by an alcohol-related cause.

At Alcohol Justice we fight for the victims and the survivors and most of all for prevention, but we need your participation to protect our families and communities.

In 2017, Alcohol Justice celebrated 30 years of fighting Big Alcohol and reducing alcohol-related harm.

Truth be told, it's really hard work and we don't always win. 

But in 2017, we fought hard and won some major battles:

  • We led a successful campaign to STOP a dangerous policy change that would have allowed alcohol sales until 4 a.m. at California bars, restaurants, and clubs (unfortunately it will be re-introduced in 2018)
  • We successfully concluded a four-year long campaign to close the exploitative Whiteclay liquor stores that caused generations of harm to the Oglala Lakota Native Americans of Pine Ridge Reservation
  • We helped to pass a bill that for the first time requires Responsible Beverage Service training for alcohol servers throughout California

Today I invite you to become a member and join these efforts in 2018.

Become a member, and when you do, I promise to involve you in important battles that can help save the lives of those you love.

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Bruce Lee Livingston
Executive Director/CEO                                                                                                                       Alcohol Justice


Wyoming Leg Ponders Charge for Harm

With a bold plan to use alcohol taxes to fund recovery, the Cowboy State wears a white hat

 

Go get 'em, cowboy stateAs the federal government becomes obsessed with tax cuts—including ones specifically earmarked for Big Alcohol—the Wyoming state legislature is living up to the headstrong cowboy image.  The body’s Interim Joint Revenue Committee is exploring raising its alcohol excise taxes and state-collected alcohol fees, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. The Wyoming Legislative Service Office estimates the state would take in an additional $6.4 million, $1.4 million of which would be a Charge for Harm tax to fund alcohol recovery services.

 

The Charge for Harm element of the alcohol tax reform bill was proposed by Sen. Dave Kinskey (R-Sheridan). Sen. Kinskey had been researching ways to raise revenue in light of the state’s earnings shortfall due to declining fossil fuel revenue, and found that alcohol taxes had been proposed as far back as 1930 by the sitting Democratic Governor. Even today, generating revenue and paying for vital health enjoy bipartisan support in the state. The Star-Tribune reports the results of a recent poll in which 78% of Wyomingites supported raising alcohol taxes.

 

“Charge for Harm is such a simple concept—use the revenue from alcohol sales to reverse the harm of alcohol,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, CEO/Executive Director of Alcohol Justice. “But we still need decisive lawmakers like Sen. Kinskey to make it more than just a good idea.”

 

Although Wyoming could join the vanguard of states aggressively pursing Charge for Harm strategies, $1.4 million is from enough to address the full scope of alcohol-induced costs to the state. According to a study from the Wyoming Department of Health and the University of Wyoming, the state spent over $840 million in 2010 to address the harms from alcohol use.

 

READ MORE about Charge for Harm strategies.

 

READ MORE about how alcohol taxes can close state budget shortfalls.

 

USE the Alcohol Justice tax calculator to see how a few cents can make a huge difference for your state.


Become Part of Alcohol Justice

Play Alcohol Justice's 2017 Giving Tuesday videoWATCH our video on how you can make a stand against Big Alcohol.

On Giving Tuesday--or any day this year--consider donating to Alcohol Justice. Be part of an organization dedicated to empowering communities and standing up to Big Alcohol.

In the past year, we have been part of several landmark victories against big-money alcohol interests, inlcuding:

Many challenges loom in the coming year. We are ready to face them. Please join us in the fight.

DONATE through Facebook.