Mass. moves to ban Four Loko type drinks

Nov. 16, 2010 at 3:50 PM
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BOSTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Massachusetts says it will restrict the sales of caffeine-laced alcoholic drinks blamed for deaths and serious illness and already banned in four states.

The state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission said by next Monday stores will no longer be permitted to take delivery of stimulant-laced malt beverages such as Four Loko, The Boston Globe reported.

But the restriction does not amount to a state-wide ban, the newspaper said.

The sweetened, high-alcohol beverages are expected to be repackaged and sold in resealable containers, placing them in the same category as vodka, rum, and other hard liquors.

Vendors licensed to sell only wine and beer or malt beverages would no longer be able to sell Four Loko and similar drinks.

Kim Gainsboro, the ABCC head, said her agency will file an emergency regulation next week to ban sales of malt beverages containing caffeine or any other herbal or chemical stimulant.

"This is a situation when you know a young person is going to die at some point if we don't get this out of the marketplace," Connolly said.

Chicago-based Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loki, expressed disappointment in the state's plans, saying curbing alcohol abuse will not succeed by singling out a beverage category.

Connecticut liquor wholesalers agreed yesterday to voluntarily suspend their shipment and deliveries of Four Loko and two similar beverages, Four Maxed and Joose.

This weekend New York's largest beer distributors agreed to stop delivering caffeinated alcoholic beverages to retailers by Dec. 10.

Washington, Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma have banned Four Loko and similar drinks, the Globe reported.

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