Yesterday the Michigan Liquor Control Commission banned caffeinated alcoholic beverages such as Four Loko, Joose, and Smirnoff Raw Tea. The ban gives retailers a month to get rid of 55 products the commission calls "alcohol energy drinks." The complete list is here (PDF). The State News reports that "the commission decided to ban the [products] because of multiple recent news reports about the dangers and consequences of the drinks." Behold the power of yellow (or, in this case, maybe lime green) journalism! In addition to the over-the-top ABC piece I noted last week (which implied that healthy young men are dropping dead from heart attacks after their first can of Four Loko), the prohibitionist advocacy disguised as news reporting has included a front-page New York Times story headlined "Caffeine and Alcohol Drink Is Potent Mix for Young."
Michigan's liquor regulators explain that they have the authority to arbitrarily prohibit these products because "the commission exercises complete control of the State's alcoholic beverage traffic" and "may disapprove any beer label submitted for registration that is deemed to promote intemperance, or intoxication, or to be detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public." They say products like Four Loko (which are classified as beer because their alcohol comes from fermented malt) are intolerable because "the packaging is often misleading" and "the products themselves can pose problems by directly appealing to a younger customer [and] encouraging excessive consumption, while mixing alcohol with various other chemical and herbal stimulants." They cite no real evidence to support these conclusions, and I'm not sure we should take the word of liquor regulators who think alcohol is a stimulant.
[via The Huffington Post]