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About Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS)

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) provides user-searchable access to authoritative, detailed, and comparable information on alcohol and cannabis-related public policies in the United States, at both State and Federal levels. Designed primarily as a tool for researchers, APIS is intended to encourage and facilitate research on the effects and effectiveness of alcohol and cannabis-related policies.

APIS provides detailed information on alcohol-related public policies at the State and Federal levels in 10 categories, comprising 41 specific policy topics. For each topic, APIS documents relevant characteristics of the policy for any date from the APIS baseline for that policy topic (January 1, 1998 for most topics; January 1, 2003 for some; and January 1, 1968 for pregnancy-related topics) through the latest annual update. APIS documentation is based on legal research conducted by trained attorneys in consultation with public health researchers.

For each policy topic, APIS provides overview information about the topic; definitions of the variables used to characterize the status of the policy at any point in time; maps and charts showing variation in the policy across states and over time; and comparison tables that show the status of the policy across states on any date or the changes in the status of the policy over time. APIS documents policy status and changes as of the effective dates when policies are in force, which generally differ from the dates policies were enacted and may differ from when they are enforced.

Categories of APIS alcohol-related policy topics include:

  • Alcohol Beverages Pricing (2 policy topics)
  • Alcohol Beverages Taxes (3 policy topics)
  • Alcohol Control Systems (6 policy topics)
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits (3 policy topics)
  • Health Care Services and Financing (2 policy topics)
  • Pregnancy and Alcohol (6 policy topics)
  • Pregnancy and Drugs (6 policy topics)
  • Retail Sales (3 policy topics)
  • Transportation (2 policy topics)
  • Underage Drinking (8 policy topics)

(Pregnancy and Drugs policies are included with APIS alcohol-related policy topics because they are closely related to Pregnancy and Alcohol policies and may be essential for researchers working in this area.)

APIS coverage of alcohol policy topics is updated comprehensively once each year, capturing policy changes through January 1 (a date when many policy changes take effect).

In addition to the alcohol policy topics described above, APIS documents 20 policy topics pertaining to Recreational Use of Cannabis. Although the structure of the comparison tables for the cannabis policy topics differs from those for the alcohol policy topics, the same legal research approach is used to document policy status by effective dates for each state to allow researchers to identify the status of each policy for any date from the baseline of January 1, 2012.

APIS coverage of Recreational Use of Cannabis policies includes:

  • Legalization of recreational use
  • Advertising, marketing, and mass media
  • Cannabis product control
  • Cultivation and distribution
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Product testing, specification, and certification
  • Retail sales
  • Taxation, fees, and pricing
  • Transportation
  • Underage and adult offenses

As for the alcohol policy topics, APIS coverage of Recreational Use of Cannabis policies is updated annually to include policies taking effect through January 1.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to many changes in policies affecting availability of alcohol beverages. APIS now provides several resources designed to assist researchers studying alcohol availability and sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a narrative Digest, a downloadable Dataset (with Codebook), and a Surveillance Report presenting data on alcohol sales during the pandemic. Coverage of COVID-19-related policies includes state-level policies affecting on-premises and off-premises sales of alcohol beverages, including state-level restrictions on whether alcohol-serving and -selling establishments can remain open; limits on hours, establishment capacity, and other operating conditions; permissibility of take-out or curbside pick-up of alcohol beverages; and permissibility and restrictions on home delivery of alcohol beverages.

APIS coverage of COVID-19-related policies affecting alcohol availability provides date-specific coverage of policy changes from before the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 through January 1, 2022. The timing of future updates will depend on the frequency of changes in COVID-related alcohol policies and on available resources.

The material on the APIS website is not intended as legal advice and is not a substitute for the services of a practicing attorney. Those in need of information about the application of law to their circumstances are encouraged to consult a qualified attorney.

This website is updated from time to time to add new material, enhance functionality, and clarify or correct information already available on the site. A list of changes is available on the Change Log page.

For researchers using APIS, citation of the source is appreciated. Please use the following format to cite materials from APIS:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Page title or description. Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) Website. Retrieved MM/DD/YEAR, from followed by the balance of the URL to link directly to material being cited.



APIS has been developed by The CDM Group, Inc., under contract to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Contract No. HHSN275201800002C). The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation is a major subcontractor. The following individuals are responsible for directing the development of APIS.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

  • Gregory Bloss, M.A., M.P.P.
    Contracting Officer's Representative
  • Mike Hilton, Ph.D.
    Former Contracting Officer's Representative

The CDM Group, Inc.

  • Kathryn Herron-Venancio
    Executive Project Director
  • Rana Kang, J.D.
    Project Director

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

  • Sue Thomas, Ph. D.
    Senior Research Scientist; Director, PIRE-Santa Cruz

APIS has built on and benefited from earlier work initiated by the University of Minnesota's Alcohol Epidemiology Program, under the direction of Prof. Alexander C. Wagenaar, with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). APIS has also benefited from the contributions of many other individuals, including James Mosher, J.D., Michael Klitzner, Ph.D., and staff members at NIAAA, The CDM Group, Inc., Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, UrbanPlanet, LLC, and Informatics Studio, Inc., as well as many expert consultants with academic or other research affiliations.