Challenging California's

Preemptive Alcohol Laws

DROC hopes to work with individuals and coalitions in challenging existing state preemptive laws on alcohol policing and regulation of outlets in oversaturated communities like Richmond, CA.

What is Preemption?

In California, the regulation of alcohol and alcohol-related policies are determined at the state level with little to no regulatory authority at the local level. This is due to the doctrine of preemptive law.


The DROC Goal

Our goal is to advocate for amendments to existing preemptive state law to allow localities, especially those with a high density of off-sale alcohol outlets, to have more control to reduce the negative community impact of alcohol in the retail environment.

Equity & Zoning Issues

Historical redlining and other government sanctioned racial zoning policies intentionally restricted investment in black and immigrant neighborhoods. Additionally, there were few restrictions about what kinds of establishments could open, leading to a large number of liquor stores and industrial areas nearby housing. Over time, these areas deteriorated, concentrating poverty and contributing to poorer health outcomes. Today, many California communities still have an oversaturation of alcohol retailers, exacerbating the health inequities seen in Black and brown communities.

The Big Risk Factors

High alcohol outlet density increases one’s risk for excessive drinking as well as exposes one to other alcohol-related problems, including but not limited to violence, crime, alcohol-involved traffic crashes, and personal injuries. Allowing localities to make decisions about alcohol retailer density, alcohol availability, and other regulatory factors will help reduce alcohol-linked health inequities.