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January 25th, 2013
09:18 AM ET

Groups: NYC soda ban unfair to small, minority-owned businesses

By Jason Kessler, CNN

New York (CNN) - New York City's attempt to keep people from fattening up on sugary soft drinks, by banning some of them, would disproportionately hurt small, minority-owned businesses, according to the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation.

The two groups have filed a joint brief supporting a lawsuit by the American Beverage Association in which they say New York's unelected Board of Health overstepped its power in approving the ban the sale of sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces in certain city venues.

Due to take effect in March, the ban is meant to combat obesity and encourage residents to live healthier lifestyles, according to the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office. But many have decried the ban as a sign of the growing "nanny-state" and an unfair intrusion on personal freedom.

It was passed in September by the New York City Board of Health, following weeks of intense debate.

In their jointly-filed amicus brief, the NAACP New York State Conference and the Hispanic Federation repeatedly claim that small, minority-owned businesses will suffer from the ban while their much-larger competitors will get a pass.

The ban will "selectively and unfairly harm small and minority-owned businesses by discriminatorily preventing them from selling large 'sugary beverages' while allowing their large competitors such as 7-11 and grocery stores to carry the banned sugary beverages," according to the brief.

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