California group says Virginia ABC effort driven by alcohol industry
California-based Marin Institute, which describes itself as a watchdog of the alcohol industry, is out with a new report urging states that control the sale of liquor not to dismantle their spirits regulations.
The group's report highlights efforts to privatize state-run liquor monopolies in Virginia and Washington state and asserts efforts to deregulate are being pushed by the alcohol industry, in an effort to boost profits.
The Marin Institute cites a series of studies that show liquor consumption rose in states and other countries after privatization of portions of their industry. They also point to studies that show other alcohol related harms, like youth and binge drinking, rose with privatization.
As we've indicated before, there is conflicting scientific research in this area--other studies show that private state and states that control the sale of alcohol have similar numbers of alcohol-related problems.
The Institute calls on politicians to "stop using alcohol regulation as a bully pulpit for calling for smaller government; alcohol is regulated because it is potentially harmful." They also call on public health officials, long concerned largely with drunk driving, to more forcefully defend governmental regulation of the sale of alcohol.
While the California group may not sway votes in the Virginia legislature, there's not a bad chance it will be used as talking points by Democrats and others who oppose Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) proposal to privatize Virginia's ABC system. You can read the full report here.
Rosalind S. Helderman
| September 21, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman
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