Colusa County Department of Behavioral Health: Prevention Services and George T. Egling Middle School Club Live are partnering to enact the “Lee Law” in Colusa. The groups will launch the campaign in March.
The Lee Law refers to California Business and Professions Code 25612.5, enacted in 1994. It requires off-sale alcohol retailers (e.g. liquor stores, grocery stores, but not bars or restaurants) to abide by a set of public health and safety standards to protect surrounding neighborhoods and communities from problems associated with alcohol sales.
The Colusa project will focus on two provisions in the law. It requires that no more than 33 percent of the window space can be covered with advertising signs, and that window signage must be placed so that law enforcement personnel have a clear, unobstructed view of the interior of the store including the cash register areas.
In a written statement Colusa County Behavioral Health’s Matthew Garcia, representing alcohol and other drug services as a Therapist II/prevention coordinator commented that research connects increased youth exposure to alcohol advertising and increased use and problems: The evidence reviewed has suggested that exposure of young people to alcohol marketing speeds up the onset of drinking and increases the amount consumed by those already drinking.
Garcia further commented that alcohol advertizing on store fronts near schools is particularly problematic. “Students at schools surrounded by ads expressed greater intention to drink and more positive associations with alcohol,” he said.
The local project’s overall goal is to create safer community environments for youth particularly in low income, ethnic neighborhoods. Additional goals are to promote compliance with the Lee Law provisions related to off-sale retail alcohol advertising practices and to enact a local ordinance to strengthen the law’s provisions to reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising.
Egling Club Live will recognize alcohol merchants who actively work to restrict alcohol sales to minors and are compliant with state and local beverage control regulations.
“Merchants will be recognized as a ‘Responsible Merchant’ when youth feel that merchants are doing a good job and local law enforcements concurs,” said Garcia.
Questions on the project may be addressed by calling Garcia at (530) 458-0524