Marin Institute, Alcohol Industry Watchdog, Changes Name to “Alcohol Justice”

The Marin Institute, which organizes campaigns to reduce alcohol-related harm, announced it has changed its name to “Alcohol Justice.” The San Francisco-based organization said its new name better reflects its national and global reach, and clarifies its mission.

The organization, founded in 1987, campaigns to raise prices on alcohol through taxes and fees; tries to remove dangerous youth-oriented alcoholic drinks from the market, and aims to restrict alcohol ads and promotions.

Alcohol Justice focuses much of its attention on what it calls “Big Alcohol”—the global conglomerates Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller and Diageo. Together these companies control more than 80 percent of the U.S. market, according to Alcohol Justice. The group also monitors smaller companies including Phusion Projects, which makes Four Loko and Blast by Colt 45. In November 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned the makers of seven caffeinated alcoholic drinks, including Four Loko, that their products are a public health concern and cannot stay on the market as currently formulated.

In a blog post, Alcohol Justice Executive Director/CEO Bruce Lee Livingston wrote, “Just as the term ‘environmental justice’ entails special harm to communities of color, Alcohol Justice hopes to expose the insidious harm to ethnic communities, women and even the LGBT community from the actions of alcohol corporations.”

3 Responses to Marin Institute, Alcohol Industry Watchdog, Changes Name to “Alcohol Justice”

  1. john | July 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Dear Mr. Livingston,
    You also work with drug legalization groups (Drug Policy Alliance) so I will never work with you on any issue. I have worked in AOD prevention for 20 years and used to respect your organization but not anymore. It would be like if I went to the alcohol industry and taught them how to get more underage drinkers because I only worked on drug prevention. Below is proof.

    International Drug Policy Reform Conference
    Hosted By The Drug Policy Alliance
    Nov.12-14, 2009
    Albuquerque Convention Center

    Imagining Victory: Make Your Own Marijuana Regulation Model
    Taxation and regulation of marijuana has reached unprecedented
    levels of political viability. But what does regulating
    marijuana actually mean? How should states control personal
    cultivation, retail distribution, advertising, and corporate
    involvement? What are the lessons of alcohol and tobacco
    regulation? Panelists will address a variety of approaches that
    are on the drawing board – and some that are already on the
    launch pad.
    Tamar Todd, Staff Attorney, Office of Legal Affairs,
    Drug Policy Alliance, Berkeley, CA
    • Dale Gieringer, Director, California NORML, Berkeley CA
    • Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director,
    Harborside Health Center, Oakland, CA
    • Jeff Jones, Executive Director,
    Patient ID Center, Oakland, CA
    • Bruce Livingston, Executive Director,
    Marin Institute, San Rafael, CA
    • Dave Schwartz, Nevada Campaign Manager,
    Marijuana Policy Project, Las Vegas, NV
    • Kirk Tousaw, Executive Director,
    Beyond Prohibition Foundation, Vancouver, Canada

    • Bruce Livingston | July 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Alcohol Justice does not endorse the legalization of marijuana. I presented on that panel about the public health failures of regulating alcohol, the advertising power of alcohol corporations and their inordinate lobbying power. We have a dialogue with Drug Policy Alliance, not a coalition. Alcohol corps are the biggest promoters of drugs in America. It would be helpful to educate the marijuana advocates about the public health concerns we have over legal alcohol, and give them a true history of prohibition and repeal instead of the misinformed and self-interested mythology they promote about Prohibition. The worst scenario would be legal pot available to teenagers and available at bars — and we need to constantly state those concerns.

  2. maxwood | July 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    1. “Big Alcohol” could indeed be an apt name for Four Loko and similar brands, which market a 12% alcohol product in a 23.5-oz. NONRESEALABLE can (what are they telling the young customer, or recipient of the drink from an older buyer, about dosage management?). What if Alcohol Justice would campaign overtly for Dosage Justice– in the case of Four Loko (I tasted it and it was decent in small quantities) how about pressuring the company, and competitors, to issue a four-ounce can shaped like a pack of cigarettes, which you can carry in your pocket and take a dainty harm-reduction sip now and then? Please don’t overlook dosage, it can be the difference between an “herb”, a “drink” etc. and a “drug”. 2. I’m a little disappointed with both sides of the controversy which ensued in comments– please address (and debate, if you will) the thesis that greatly relaxing the controls on cannabis, including for minors, will permit a sudden drastic drop in alcohol and tobacco cigarette morbidity and violence; and that continuing cannabis “prohibition” is precisely what keeps those addiction-based industries thriving on a predatory exploitation of youth.

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