In 2016, a group of community members working on alcohol prevention met regularly over a period of three months engaging in dialogue with other stakeholders in the community to discuss the issues with alcohol in the city of Richmond.
From these conversations, one objective was clear: safer streets in Richmond. In order to get to a safer Richmond, the community needed to tackle the issues that folks saw related to alcohol. Community members commented on the loitering and public alcohol consumption throughout the city, while police officers mentioned that many of their calls for service were near a handful of liquor stores and related to public drinking and single sales beverages. As such, this group decided to research the role of single sale alcoholic beverages. In surveying local stores, they found that single sale beverages make up as much as 58% of refrigerated shelf space in stores. They also found that research shows that areas with higher rates of single serve alcoholic beverages are linked to poorer public health and increased violence and crime. In addition, according to data provided by the Richmond police department, between May 2017 and April 2018, there were a total of 5,929 calls for service that were made to just ten liquor stores in Richmond for crimes within 500 feet–114 of these calls being for violent crimes.
The Alcohol, Marijuana, and Prescription Drugs coalition (AMPD), who at the time was just a rapid action team for alcohol prevention, mobilized community members and other stakeholders to present the negative impact that the presence of single sales beverages brings and how harmful these beverages could be towards youth to the Richmond city council. Using “The Impact of Retail Practices on Violence: The Case of Single Serve Alcohol Beverage Containers by Robert Nash Parker and Kevin McCaffree, they followed the steps in the research study and applied it to off-sale alcohol outlets in Richmond in order to build their case for implementing a single sales ban ordinance in the city.
Despite the Richmond city council agreeing with their proposition to initiate a single sales ban throughout the city, they were unfortunately prevented from doing so, due to preemptive state law. Because of this, the city of Richmond had no authority to control the sale of single sales at the local level. Despite the support and efforts by the local community, the proposal was eventually sidelined. This setback opened the door for the current work challenging the preemptive nature of alcohol laws in the state of California. To read more on what happened after this and about the current work, check out the articles, “Richmond Resolution” and “Current Work”.