California City First in U.S. to SupportAlcopop-Free Zoneä Campaign
Alcohol Retailers Encouraged to Voluntarily Stop Sales of Flavored Malt Beverages
SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Sept. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- San Rafael City Council Members took a bold step towards protecting youth from alcopops Tuesday night when they unanimously passed the country's first city resolution of support for creating an Alcopop-Free Zoneä. The resolution encourages alcohol retailers to voluntarily stop selling dangerous, youth-attractive flavored malt beverages, also known as "alcopops."
"Alcopops are extremely dangerous, not just to those who consume them, but to everyone around them," stated Youth for Justice member Diana Ruiz, 15, in her comments to the City Council. "In order to have a safe and healthy community, there should no longer be any alcopops."
The dangerous, youth-attractive alcopops, or flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are:
- Pre-mixed, sweetened alcoholic drinks that taste like juice and soda
- Packaged in brightly-colored cans, similar to energy drinks
- Priced low enough to effectively target underage drinkers, especially young women
- Shelved wherever beer is available – including convenience stores, gas stations, and mini-marts
- Often supersized at up to 24 oz. single-serving containers with 12 percent alcohol – the equivalent of 4-5 beers which cannot be consumed responsibly by any age drinker
- Encouraging underage consumption which leads to serious alcohol-related harm
- Four Loko (Phusion Projects), Tilt (Anheuser-Busch InBev), Blast (Pabst), Smirnoff Ice (Diageo), Bartles & Jaymes (E&J Gallo), Sparks (The Steele Brewing Co), and Mike' s Hard Lemonade
"These alcopop products clearly appear to be directed and marketed primarily to youth, and I think that is a great concern we heard tonight," stated Damon Connelly, San Rafael City Council Member. "This resolution is sufficiently tied to protecting public safety, which is something we are charged with doing as a city council. So again I'm very much in favor of taking this step and applaud you guys."
"Many of my friends drink alcopops because they are cheap, easy to access and you only need one to get drunk," said Youth for Justice member Jessica Sanchez Avalos, 18, in her testimony to the City Council. "With your support we can make San Rafael the first Alcopop-Free Zone community in the nation."
"When I vote on this issue tonight, I'll be voting for you, for our youth, for our future, so thank you for being engaged on this specific issue and bringing this to us," stated San Rafael Vice-Mayor Marc Levine. "Thank you to Youth for Justice for working on this and thanks to Alcohol Justice for their leadership internationally, nationally and here in your home town where you started."
Passage of the resolution followed a late afternoon action by youth, adults, and community organizations who rallied in the Albert Park area of San Rafael to encourage a 7-Eleven convenience store and a Safeway supermarket to voluntarily stop stocking and selling dangerous youth-attractive alcopops. The group, led by Youth for Justice, then marched through downtown San Rafael to City Hall to participate in the hearing for the resolution of support.
"We are totally committed to get the stores in our neighborhoods to be more responsive to kids and other concerned community members," said Joe Benjamin Feria Lopez, age 16, a Youth for Justice member."We hope they will be encouraged by the City Council's action and now take all these dangerous products off the shelf."
Earlier this year, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a similar resolution of support and various retailers in San Rafael, Stinson Beach and Bolinas have already pulled most alcopops from their shelves.
"Campaign rallies and demands will continue at 7-Eleven and Safeway stores, and at all other alcopop retailers in San Rafael and Marin until the county truly is an Alcopop-Free Zone," stated Jorge Castillo, Advocacy Director for Alcohol Justice.
Current Alcopop-Free Zoneä Marin supporters include:
- Alcohol Justice
- Albert Park Neighborhood Alliance
- Being Adept
- Families for Safer Schools
- Marin County Advisory Board on Alcohol & Other Drug Problems
- Marin County Dept. of Health & Human Services Prevention Hub
- Marin County Pharmacists Association
- Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth
- Novato Police Department
- Pharmacist Planning Service, Inc.
- Santa Margarita Neighborhood Association
- San Rafael Community Coalition
- Sober Living in Mill Valley
- Twin Cities Coalition for Healthy Youth
- United Markets
- YMCA – Marin County Youth Court
- Youth Leadership Institute
- Youth for Justice
William Daniels, President / Owner of United Markets stated in a letter to the Council: "The Alcopop-Free Zone resolution will create a safe and healthy city that will encourage youth to achieve their fullest potential by restricting the harmful influence that alcopops can exercise in their lives."
The Alcopop-Free Zone Marin coalition is open to any agency or group to join their efforts to remove alcopops from the county. Please visit http://www.AlcopopFreeZone.us/ for more information. Click here to see a video of the rally, march and City Council hearing.
"Any community, youth or parent group can organize to free their community of youth-attractive alcopops," stated Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director/CEO of Alcohol Justice. "It can be done, anywhere in the country."
Contact: Michael Scippa 415-548-0492
Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336
SOURCE Alcohol Justice