Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Four Loko in Nanny State

Last week Sen. Jeff Klein, of the IDC, introduced a bill (SB 3889) that would ban the sale of caffeinated or stimulant-enhanced alcoholic beverages. This anti-fun legislation is a companion to Assemblyman Felix Ortiz's bill (AB 5171).
Essentially, the proposal would ban any drink with at least 5% alcohol by volume and 6 mg per ounce of caffeine or any other stimulant. This type of drink is currently sold as "beer," which allows it to be sold in convenience stores and supermarkets.
Interestingly, and probably hypocritically, the bill doesn't limit these caffeinated drinks if they have more than 15% alcohol by volume. It's possible that this exception is so that bars can continue to sell vodka and red bull, an extremely popular drink.
Luckily for proponents of having a good time, Klein introduced this bill in the past and it never went anywhere. Additionally, Ortiz's bill has been languishing in the Assembly for a month, so that seems to say that the furor over these delightful drinks has died down and a ban won't be passed. Unfortunately, Four Loko removed itself from New York shelves, except in a new form without caffeine. Enterprising youngsters, though, can still find the classic formula at shady establishments.

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