Reason TV Replay: Why the Feds Banned Four Loko (And is your favorite drink next?)

While the Food and Drug Administration investigates Monster, Rockstar, and 5-Hour Energy, we look back at the fate of a similarly targeted beverage.

Here is the original text from the Dec 22, 2010 Reason TV video:

On December 21, Ramiro Diaz was arrested for selling eight cans of Four Loko to an undercover agent from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Diaz faces up to a year in jail for the offense, but just a few months ago Four Loko was perfectly legal. What happened?

The drink had been the subject of many media reports which suggested that Four Loko's mixture of alcohol and caffeine causes young people to engage in risky behavior. The drink was even dubbed "Blackout in a Can," and the story soon moved from newsrooms to Congress, where officials like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded that it be pulled from shelves.

"We must protect children from the severe and deadly consequences of drinks like Four Loko," declared Schumer. The Food and Drug Administration agreed, and in November federal regulators banned Four Loko. The company promised to yank it from shelves by December and replace it with a decaffeinated version.

So do drinks like Four Loko pose a unique danger to America's youth or is this episode more proof that that mixing media and politics can be hazardous to your freedom?

"Why the Feds Banned Four Loko" is written and produced by Paul Detrick. Camera by Alex Manning, Hawk Jensen and Jim Epstein. Senior Producer is Ted Balaker. Music by Beight, DJ Cary, CrimsonFaced and Sophia Marie (Magnatune Records).

Approximately 3:30 minutes.

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  • Timon 19||

    I just read this. CSPI is, of course, clutching their pearls mightily.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Holy shit! After reading that article, I ran around in circles in my living room, pulled may hair out, and jumped off my balcony. Then, I remembered that the article was only about a new snack food. Boy, do I feel silly now.

  • Sevo||

    "This showcases a massive problem of tax-exempt companies...Taxpayers are subsidizing them..."

    The HORROR! There are legal ways to not pay taxes! Hafta put a stop to that...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Tax them all, let God sort them out.

  • Anonymous Coward||

  • Xenocles||

    To be fair, we generally don't expect companies to pay taxes unless they're profitable.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The only "fairness" you need to be concerned with in the post-racial, post-partisan, everything-is-Bush's-fault America, is paying your fair share, which GM is not doing.

  • Hyperion||

    and is your favortie drink next?

    Meh, I think they will have a difficult time banning beer.

    But in other news, the Japanese are in the gulf!

    Fuck a you Dolphiiiiiiiinnnsssss!!!!!

  • AlmightyJB||

    If only Chuck Schumer would protect us from Chuck Schumer by stfu.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Here is another food/agriculture article. It's about people who risked their own money to innovate in an attempt to make a profit. What's that called again? Capitalism? More people should try it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "We must protect children from the severe and deadly consequences of drinks like Four Loko," declared Schumer.

    Redefining "childhood" up, one panic at a time.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Maybe if he'd laid off the milkshakes as a kid, he wouldn't have his moobie problem.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Hahaha! Looks like the photo was taken at a LGBT Pride rally. I'm guessing he was the Grand Marshal (whistle on the rainbow lanyard). Maybe he grew his moobs in support of transgendered people everywhere?

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Moobs are an expression of excess estrogen released by accumulated belly fat, which is a symptom of insulin resistance.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "This showcases a massive problem of tax-exempt companies...Taxpayers are subsidizing them..."

    No fucking way. I had no idea.

  • StephT||

    What I'm thinking we should do is, ask the government for a list of foods that we should eat--you know, foods that are safe. Or subsidized by the government.

    Oh! I know! Let's get a list from the government of foods that we should be allowed to eat/drink.

    In the meantime, it's back to vodka and Monster. Until they ban that. There have been several Monster deaths, you know.

    If a ban saves just one life, then it's WORTH it.

  • 0x90||

    A list? Forget healthcare -- access to food is the most basic of all human rights. It should be provided directly, no need for any kind of list. Why do you hate children?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Don't worry.

    Two Belgrade residents were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Helena last week on charges of manufacturing marijuana and money laundering.

    Federal Judge Dana L. Christensen on Friday sentenced Randy Martin Leibenguth, 25, to three months in prison followed by nine months of home arrest. He was also ordered to forfeit $50,000 and work 150 hours of community service. He will be on probation for five years after his release.

    Stephanie Marie Gibson (formerly Leibenguth), 38, was given credit for five days in jail and will be on probation for four years. She, too, was ordered to forfeit $50,000 and perform 150 hours of community service.


    The investigation was a joint effort among federal agencies and local law enforcement including the Missouri River Drug Task Force, Bozeman and Belgrade police departments and Gallatin and Park county sheriff’s offices.

    Once the citizens of a state approve medical or recreational marijuana use, local law enforcement agencies will refuse to assist the DEA, and the federales will abandon attempts to enforce federal level prohibition laws!

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Forfeit $50K? Ain't forfeiture grand. Party time for the PoPo!! Booze, drugs, hookers for all!

  • Xenocles||

    The best part about blacking out from Four Loko is forgetting the experience of having drank Four Loko.

  • Julio Cesar Samper Uribe||

    "We must protect children from the severe and deadly consequences of..."

    The prelude of every stupid nanny-state law in the history of ever.

  • wingnutx||

    Chuck Schumer should be set on fire and then run over with a mine flail.

  • ||

    Wait, I'm confused. Is Four Loko now caffeine-free, alcohol-free, or both?

  • Lord Rae||

    Just caffeine free.

  • hityt||

    Ferragamo Outlet for a lower price. This style of Salvatore shoes are made by high quality patent leather.


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