Retailers have a week to clear millions of dollars worth of alcoholic energy drinks from their shelves after state regulators banned them Wednesday, citing the hospitalization of nine dangerously drunk college students last month.
The emergency ban, similar to those in Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma, takes effect Nov. 18. Washington's rule targets beer-based drinks that also feature caffeine, such as the malt-liquor energy drink Four Loko.
... Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, who requested Washington's ban, said a strong caffeine-and-alcohol combination could encourage drinking too much by masking alcohol's regular depressant effects. She also said alcohol-based energy drinks — sometimes fruit-flavored, often sold in brightly colored cans — are too appealing to young drinkers.
These sort of drinks hold no appeal for me, but I was a underage kid once and back then had a considerable skill at getting my hands on my preferred tipple. So I can't help but wonder if Gov. Gregoire has considered the possibility that kids will just engage in self-help.
Get a hold of a beer. Get a hold of an energy drink. Mix in your preferred ratio. Voila.
On top of which, Washington has now added the lure of the forbidden. So not only is the regulation bootless, it may actually compound the problem by encouraging kids to experiment.