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.