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November 18, 2010

Maryland takes out Four Loko

PX00076_9.JPGMaryland becomes the latest state to put the kibosh on Four Loko.

On Wednesday, Comptroller Peter Franchot convinced two Maryland trade groups to stop distributing the alcoholic caffeinated drink to its members, The Sun reports this morning.

Franchot cited the death of Courtney Perry, who Midnight Sun told you about Monday, as a motivating factor in the move.

The Maryland Beer Wholesalers association, a group of 22 businesses that distributes most of the alcohol in the state, agreed to stop importing the drink.

As did its board, which represents about a third of Maryland's roughly 6,000 licensed alcohol stores and bars.

The move comes after the Food and Drug Administration issued letters to beverage makers labeling caffeine as an "unsafe food additive" to alcoholic drinks. And warned the government could seize their products unless the manufacturers pull them or prove their products are safe. 

Proving they're safe or unsafe might be difficult to do, seeing as scientists haven't reached a conclusion themselves. For one there's no evidence these drinks are any more unsafe than caffeinated drinks like Red Bull, according to a study by the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.

And even in that study, researchers said "the relationship between energy-drink use and increased risk of alcohol abuse is not entirely clear." They also acknowledged "causality may go in either direction."

The Maryland trade groups' agreement doesn't force liquor stores to immediately yank the product from their shelves. But prepare to start seeing poorly written "We stop selling Four Loko" signs popping up in stores and bodegas around town.

If you don't know what Four Loko is:  "The often fruity drinks are popular among the young, who say they like the way the caffeine mitigates the soporific effects of the alcohol."

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

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Posted by Erik Maza at 10:09 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: News


This begs the question, will the State also seek to ban the mixing of liquor and caffeinated drinks? Rum and coke, Redbull and vodka, Bailey's and coffee, etc.

Aside from the fact that Four Loko is prepackaged, is there really a difference?

A ban on caffeine infused alcoholic beverages will also effectively ban many craft brewed beers made with chocolate, coffee, and other ingredients containing caffeine.

There are 3-5 deaths that may have been caused by FourLoko. 400,000 people (including non-smokers) died last year from exposure to tobacco products. Yet we keep on smoking.


Now I will have to pay twice as much to try Four Loko.

RE: Jed

We recently posted about the possible effects of this ruling on beer brewed with tea leaves and/or coffee. Click my name for more, including a response from the Brewer's Association.

If they ban Jooce I'm moving to Canada.

friggin' liberals always laying down and taking it to make a couple people happy.

personal responibiliy people

@Jed- you are absolutely right,

I am now going to go by some Primaten Mist to get my ephedrine fix, pack of smokes, and some Bud Light and Red Bull, and drink til I die and then my family can sue everybody!!! (just jokin')

Primaten Mist can't help you since the CFC bans rendered us asthmatics helpless with the umm err HFA "safe" inhalers. I said yesterday- bed bugs, stink bugs, no inhalers- I'm gonna switch parties soon.

@Tif- you can buy Primatene mist in tablets now as well as Bronkaid, each tablet has 25mg of ephedrine sulfate, it's not as good as the old Max Alerts, but you gotta do what you gotta do;) Just go to your local WalMart.

Now back to my party!

Four Loko is a powerful drink!

@frank-thanks for wasting 6 and 1/2 minutes of my life.

katebee, four loko is illegal in canada and actually has never been distrubuted there

ROTFLOL!!! @ kateebee...........what a shame, everybody has to suffer cause a few people are careless.. Why not ban all liquor period.. I guess the law makers dont drink 4 loko otherwise they would sweep these cases right under the rug to their conveinence...

Wanna know how to knock down a 6'3", 260 pound man?

Answer = Make him drink two cans of four loko...

Less alcohol than white zinfandel. P*ssies.

OK so a Sun story now says the City has banned it from being sold, starting Thursday at 5 p.m. Does that mean it is still available somewhere in the city?

Any idea where?

@Cantonite-Canton Market was carrying it last week.

I bought some at the Schnapp Shop on 29th and N. Calvert last week and they had a bunch of varieties. Please go buy them all, because I think it's horrible that my little corner grocery will have inventory that they can't legally sell after Thursday.

This ban is ridiculous. It's a knee jerk reaction to someone's PR campaign/personal vendetta.

The ban is only for our protection. Don't you feel protected now?

Eutaw & Centre has several varieties available. Can't wait to taste the crap

i think this is bullshit and the government has gone to far

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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