Alcohol Justice was formed in 1987 as one of the endowed Buck Trust agencies. It was originally known as Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems, and later as The Marin Institute, or TMI. In 2011, we changed our name to Alcohol Justice. to reflect our strong commitment to equity for all communities and our alcohol industry watchdog role.
With its founding in 1987, Marin Institute led a revolution in understanding that local communities could take action against environmental harm and danger to their neighborhoods from alcohol. Since then, we have trained tens of thousands of individuals at conferences and workshops; published dozens of reports and journal articles; appeared in hundreds of media outlets and thousands of news clips and interviews; and advocated for improvements in production, marketing and promotion, and on- and off-premise sales practices throughout the country.
We seek changes in alcohol corporations and their products, promotions, and practices, alcohol policies, regulations, and enforcement. We bring research, policy, media, and advocacy together; mobilize coalitions that include youth, adults, and various community leaders; and organize to enact, support, and advocate for alcohol policies that keep youth and communities safe and healthy.
Raise the Alcohol Tax - Charge for Harm
We lead national and state campaigns for increased alcohol taxes to fund treatment and prevention programs, and services that mitigate alcohol-related harm. We promote an approach of dedicating alcohol taxes or special fees to mitigate the $232 billion in annual costs due to alcohol-related harm in the U.S. We provide assistance and support for state efforts to raise alcohol taxes, with online tools that include a tax revenue calculator, fact sheets, and legislative monitoring. Read our report: "Drunk with Power: Industry Kills Alcohol Mitigation Fees in California 2010"
Victory on Alcoholic Energy Drinks (AEDs) & Alcopops
We released Alcohol, Energy Drinks and Youth: A Dangerous Mix
in 2007. Under pressure from state attorneys general, and public health advocates including Alcohol Justice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned producers of AEDs to remove caffeine and other stimulants from their alcoholic beverage products, and to remove AEDs from the market in 2010. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) joined the FDA in issuing that warning. We have also created a national model program for local communities and youth called Alcopop-Free Zones, currently in process in Marin County.
Document the Real Cost of Alcohol
We produced The Cost of Alcohol in California
in 2008, a peer-reviewed publication
and summarized in a series of reports available on our publications page
. We exposed the $38 billion dollar annual cost to California in traffic DUIs, illness, crime, and injury, which impacts work loss, health care costs, and the criminal justice system. We also exposed another $48 billion in quality of life costs in grief and family trauma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released similar analysis at national and state levels.
Call for an End to Industry Self-Regulation
We released a landmark report, Why Big Alcohol Can’t Police Itself: A Review of Advertising Self-Regulation in the Distilled Spirits Industry
in 2008. Our regular online feature In the Doghouse frequently exposes industry advertising, promotion, and products that would not be found on the market, if reasonable policies for regulating alcohol marketing and promotion were adopted and enforced per recommendations from public health experts, including our own. We also expose the fallacy of industry "drink responsibly"
messages and campaigns for what they are: corporate social responsibility to benefit the brand and the bottom line.
Stop Out-of-Home Alcohol Advertising
In the last few years we halted alcohol ads on public transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area, and created model legislation to end alcohol ads on street furniture in San Francisco. We published Out-of-Home Alcohol Advertising: A 21st Century Guide to Effective Regulation
in 2009. We organized a diverse coalition in Los Angeles that won an alcohol ad ban on 6,000 city bus benches and is currently organizing to eliminate alcohol ads on public transportation in L.A.
Expose the Alcohol Industry's Political Influence
We monitor and call out alcohol industry lobbying, contributions, and other influence on elected and appointed officials at local, state, and federal levels. We have published peer-reviewed journal articles and our own reports on alcohol industry political influence, such as A Lot of Bang for Booze Bucks
(2010) and Top priorities for alcohol regulators in the United States: protecting public health or the alcohol industry?
Build National & Global Awareness of Alcohol Industry Power, Growth, & Harm
Working cooperatively with national and international nongovernmental organizations, industry watchdog groups, policy advisers, and public health advocates, we monitor and illuminate the increasing market growth and industry consolidation of the alcohol industry. We promote and advocate for best practices in alcohol policy and regulation, and use social and earned media to assist our international associates.Read "The Myth of the Family Winery: Global Corporations Behind California Wine"Read "Big Beer Duopoly: A Primer for Policymakers and Regulators"