Four Loko To Be Banned In Massachusetts

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts alcohol agents are moving to ban the sale of the controversial drink known as “Four Loko,” WBZ’s Joe Shortsleeve has learned.

The powerful combination of alcohol and caffeine is a big hit with young people, but the colorful cans have also been linked to deaths and trips to the emergency room.

WHY THE BAN?

Consider this, 80 percent of the young people arrested for underage drinking in the past two weeks had this product on them.

So this Friday, the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission will file new regulations, essentially banning these drinks.

Most people know it as Four Loko, but there are actually 55 products like it with different names. They all contain a powerful combination of alcohol, sugar and caffeine and taste like fruity energy drinks.

But despite the fun name and colorful packaging, these drinks have been linked to illness and death.

COLLEGE POPULARITY

These drinks are popular on college campuses. “I have heard about people getting hurt…going to the hospital… going to health services,” one college student told WBZ. “They are definitely not good for you.”

This student said these kinds of drinks are being called “black out in a can.”

A POTENT DRINK

Each can contains the alcohol of four or five beers and the caffeine of four cans of soda.

WBZ has learned here in Massachusetts, the state alcohol beverage control commission has seen enough and wants them off shelves. They say the product is really not a malt liquor, but a much more potent form of hard liquor, like vodka.

The Chairman of the State Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, Kim Gainesboro, spoke exclusively to WBZ. “We are concerned about consumer protection. We are concerned that people who are drinking these alcoholic beverages are not aware of the ingredients which are contained in them.”

ALREADY BANNED IN OTHER STATES

Massachusetts will now join Washington, Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma in banning these drinks. Arkansas, Indiana and Pennsylvania are now considering action.

New York recently reached a voluntary agreement with the liquor industry to pull the product off shelves.

At Martignetti Liquors in Boston, the manager says he supports this move by the state. “It looks like a soda pop,” said Frank Cernigliaro. “It is not. It has a lot of alcohol in it. So if they are going to ban it, I am all for it.”

WHEN WOULD THE BAN START?

Distribution and manufacturing of the drink will be banned as of Monday morning. Sale of the product will be banned shortly after that date.

Here in Massachusetts, investigators expect the liquor industry will re-package the product and probably down the road sell it as hard liquor.

There are more taxes on hard liquor and that alone will make it less attractive to the younger crowd.

Comments

One Comment

  1. FourLokoFan says:

    I’m sad…

  2. mike says:

    i’m gonna cry

  3. Joe says:

    Why punish the manufacturer for underage drinkers? Maybe the punishment for underage drinking should be more serious. This isn’t fair to us responsible and of age consumers

    1. Evan Lacey says:

      should they stop making tylenol? if some idiot takes a whole bottle, they’ll die too. i completely agree. while these drinks absolutely suck, it is up to the buyer to decide what they want to do with it. people are made aware to NOT swallow tons of pills, make the awareness NOT to pound these drinks….

  4. Brendan says:

    wow……this is absolutely absurd. Its the same as mixing red bull and vodka. Does that mean red bull will be illegal too? All alcohol puts underage college drinkers in hospitals, so why pick on Four Loko? Nice job MA great to see so much common sense in effect……

  5. Sydney says:

    Its cheap, bad for you in so many ways, and fun as ever…I still admit this even after breaking my leg on some faulty stairs while under its influence.

    Taking it off shelves sounds like a solid plan.

  6. jonathan says:

    Brilliant commentary, people. Maybe in keeping with one’s freedom to abuse himself, the state should start giving away heroin, cocaine, and other substances which any sensible person should know better than to ingest. Would cut down on crime, eh?

    1. David says:

      comparing alcohol to heroin is a little stupid, eh? what ever happened to freedom in this country….

  7. robbie says:

    Why cant people just be held responsible for their own actions. Dont blame the drink. Blame the Idiots who black out… God Massachusetts is run by a bunch of pricks. Ever heard of happy hour, bars serving past 1, 18 to party 21 to drink, maybe the guys on beacon hill should lighten up.

  8. mitch says:

    why would you ever punish a company because the people use a product.

    further more, if people abuse the product… whose fault is that? yes, let’s put the fault on the maker of the product!!! yeah!!!

  9. Brittanie says:

    people have been dying from alcohol poisoning for years, way before four lokos hit the shelves. you need to know your limits when you’re drinking and if you’re stupid enough to drink 3 or 4 in a short period of time than maybe you shouldn’t drink such a harsh drink. STILL SELL THEM!

  10. chris says:

    so its fine to smoke cigarettes? what a world we live in.

    1. cynic says:

      Whats Wrong with selling Cigarettes?

      1. Cynic says:

        Or Smoking them either?

  11. Kevin says:

    I agree with many of those above. Why is it always society’s fault? People need to start being responsible for their own actions. Where do we draw the line? Do we ban energy drinks This isn’t a drug made in some meth lab – as others have pointed out, it’s no different than mixing Red Bull with vodka. Four Loko puts into a can what people have mixed in their kitchen for the past decade. All the attention brought to the drink recently has done nothing but spur sales even further. Talk about your all-time backfires. Banning the drink is over the top.

  12. Boston Jarred says:

    YOU CAN’T NOT ABUSE IT.
    IF YOU ARE DRINKING IT, THEN YOU PROBABLY CAN’T HANDLE DRINKING IN THE FIRST PLACE, SINCE INSTEAD OF DRINKING IN WHAT SOME PEOPLE CALL “MODERATION”, YOU OBVIOUSLY SEEK ABUSE OF A REALLY BAD COMBINATION.
    THE WHOLE POINT FOR EVERYONE SAYING “ONLY SOME ABUSE IT” IS THAT THE DRINK ITSELF IS ABUSE OF ALCOHOL IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    HAVE A BEER AND STOP CRYING. CHEERS.

    ALSO, YOUR VERY WELCOME FOR MY EXPLAIINATION OF
    THIS COMPLICATED PROBLEM.

  13. Jarred_B says:

    YOU CAN’T NOT ABUSE IT.
    IF YOU ARE DRINKING IT, THEN YOU PROBABLY CAN’T HANDLE DRINKING IN THE FIRST PLACE, SINCE INSTEAD OF DRINKING IN WHAT SOME PEOPLE CALL “MODERATION”, YOU OBVIOUSLY SEEK ABUSE OF A REALLY BAD COMBINATION.
    THE WHOLE POINT FOR EVERYONE SAYING “ONLY SOME ABUSE IT” IS THAT THE DRINK ITSELF IS ABUSE OF ALCOHOL IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    HAVE A BEER AND STOP CRYING. CHEERS.

    ALSO, YOURE VERY WELCOME FOR MY EXPLAIINATION OF
    THIS COMPLICATED PROBLEM.

  14. Sho'Nuff says:

    You silly people and your “freedom.” Don’t you people realize that the government knows what’s best for us?
    Why don’t they just put pictures of girls blacked out and puking in emergency rooms, like how they’re putting cancer related pics on a pack of delicious smokes?

  15. massman says:

    A recent study, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A000O20101101ust, showed that alcohol, is the most dangerous of all drugs. Even more dangerous than crack and heroin, which placed second and third respectively. With that being said, the banning of these beverages shows the ignorance of our government. Adults who want to consume any substance, from heroin to caffeinated alcoholic beverages, will continue to do so. Banning, prohibiting, making ilegal (whatever you want to call it), doesn’t work, and never will work.

  16. Cups Mccheggins says:

    Four Loko is so uness. If you want to get yammed up the cheapest way to do it is a handle of Rubinof and some packets of powder crystal light and water. Outside of that just hit up blanchards and buy some yegs. You will save money. I love to pahty but four loko’s have increased booting at my pahties greatly and i hate cleaning boot. late.

  17. Reche says:

    Cigs have nothing to do with this….? and Waaaaaaa man up and drink a non-girl drink little girls!

  18. emom says:

    what where they thinking,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  19. damizzle says:

    i will drive to the ends of the earth to buy four lokos. no state law can stop me now!! HAHAHAHAHAHA

  20. Brendan Nugent says:

    Add this to your list of what to cover the next time you report something about Four Loko:
    There is already a Facebook group with over 120,000 fans (as of 9:30pm Sunday) of a page titled: “R.I.P FOUR LOKO”

    Here’s the link.
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-FOUR-LOKO/121397777919839

  21. Matt Gately says:

    this is stupid. now im going to have to go to nh to get lokos whooooo is making these stupid rules

  22. Will says:

    Let’s look at the problems here:

    “The powerful combination of alcohol and caffeine is a big hit with young people”
    Ok. Problem right here isn’t the combination, it’s the young people. Don’t give it to young people.

    “Consider this, 80 percent of the young people arrested for underage drinking in the past two weeks had this product on them.”
    How about considering looking at the underage drinking instead! Again, the drink has no problem.

    “But despite the fun name and colorful packaging, these drinks have been linked to illness and death.”
    List please.
    How many people on this list shouldn’t be drinking in the first place?

    “These drinks are popular on college campuses.”
    Then crack down on drinking on campuses instead. You’re there to study and get an education, not party. On that list I want, how many people died that weren’t on a campus or partying?

    The problem isn’t the drink itself. It’s the purchase and abuse from irresponsible people. If I want to purchase something that’s legal and enjoy it responsibly like an adult, then I have the right to do so. Don’t ban something because of the acts of people not old enough for it in the first place.
    What’s next? banning the sale or consumption of hot dogs at their current length because someone decided to goof off and/or didn’t chew one properly and choked?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Boston

Download Our App
Download Weather App

Listen Live