California considers ban on caffeinated alcohol beverages
July 12, 2011
If you like caffeine with your beer, you’ll have to mix them yourself. [San Mateo Daily Journal]
The California Assembly moved to prohibit the sale and production of popular energy drinks such as Joose and Four Loko, which are laced with alcohol and caffeine and have been popular with young, college-age drinkers.
The Assembly approved the ban in a 43-24 vote. The bill, SB39, passed the Senate in April, which will now reconsider the changes made by the Assembly before it goes on to the governor.
Specifically, the bill would ban the import, production, distribution or retail of alcoholic beverages with caffeine added to them. Nearly half a dozen states have passed similar bills.
The added caffeine in these drinks “masks the effects of the high alcohol content, which can lead to binge drinking and dangerous behavior,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored the bill.
Opponents note that college students under 21 are already breaking the law, and argue that no one is trying to ban Irish coffee, which also combines alcohol and caffeine.
It doesn’t matter what your alcoholic beverage of choice, “if you drink enough of it you’re going to pass out, said Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton. “Is this really something that needs a state law?”
Federal regulators are also reviewing the safety and marketing practices of beverage makers that combine the two ingredients.