It had, in many respects, become the little movement that could. After more than a decade of failed attempts at both the state and local levels to impose soda taxes, health advocates scored a watershed victory in 2014 when Berkeley voters approved by a two-thirds majority a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages sold within the city limits. It was the first city in the nation to do so.
Two years later similar measures were approved by voters in San Francisco, Oakland and nearby Albany. Many advocates and health experts had hoped that 2018 would be an even bigger year on the soda tax front, at least in Northern California. Measures were either on the ballot, or organizing efforts were underway to put them on the ballot, in Stockton, Richmond, Santa Cruz and on the countywide ballot in Marin County. Health advocates credited the laws that had already passed with leading to significant drops in sales of sweetened beverages, a major cause of obesity and tooth decay in children.