Press Releases

San Francisco City Hall Rally Calls for State Ban on Retail Self-Serve Alcohol Checkout


Contact:  Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
Jorge Castillo  213 840-3336

San Francisco City Hall Rally Calls for State Ban
on Retail Self-Serve Alcohol Checkout
Research Shows Self-Serve Checkout Enables Youth to Buy or Steal Booze
Broad Support Demonstrated for California
Assemblywoman Fiona Ma’s AB 183

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (April 8, 2011) – Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, joined with California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the San Francisco Fire Department, San Francisco Police Officers, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Metro United Methodist Ministries and high school students today on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to call for a statewide ban on alcohol sales through self-serve checkout.

“The rise in self-serve checkout lanes in retail stores that sell alcoholic beverages is creating a recipe for disaster,” stated Bruce Lee Livingston, Marin Institute executive director and CEO. “Easy access is a key driver of underage drinking, which in turn causes violent crime, car crashes, and high-risk sex.”

More than 2.3 million underage youth drink alcohol each year in California. Research done by the San Diego State University Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies last summer showed great vulnerabilities in self-checkout machines which allowed minors to purchase alcohol without providing age verification.

"Underage drinking costs Californian taxpayers an estimated $8.1 billion annually," said Assemblywoman Ma. "AB 183 will prevent alcohol from getting in the wrong hands and protects the public and our youth."

A 2009 UCLA study found 20% of young adults were able to override self-service checkout by scanning other items and/or swiping credit cards. In 2007, underage drinkers consumed nearly 14% of all alcohol sold in California, totaling $3.6 billion in sales.

AB 183 will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization (GO) Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at the State Capitol.  Marin Institute is encouraging people to tell Committee Chair Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) to protect the health and safety of California youth and all residents and visitors by passing the bill.  In 2010, an identical bill, authored by Assembly Member Hector De La Torre (D-Los Angeles), was passed by both the Assembly and Senate, but vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

To take action on AB 183, go to: