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Pour 'Em Out, Homies: Gov. Brown Signs Caffeinated Beer Beverage Ban Into Law

Photo of Joose, one of the beverages affected by the ban, by ashengrove via Flickr
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Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 39, which bans the importation, production, and sale of caffeinated beer beverages at retail locations throughout the state. The ban, passed in the state senate last month, goes into effect on January 1, 2012. Behind the law is local state senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), who has been vocal about his concerns about the popular boozy drinks that mix stimulants with alcohol.

Says Senator Padilla of Brown's approval of the ban:

“I applaud Governor Brown for signing SB 39. Caffeinated beer beverages are a threat to public health. The added caffeine masks the effects of the high alcohol content, which can lead to binge drinking and dangerous behavior."

In November 2010, the Food and Drug Administration reached out to four major manufacturers of these kinds of fruit-flavored mass-market drinks to warn them that the addition of caffeine to alcoholic beverages was unsafe. At that time the maker of one of the most popular such drink, Four Loko, announced they would remove caffeine and other stimulants from their product.

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The FDA's action, however, did not ban such beverages; the movement to do so has been conducted at the state level. California now joins Massachusetts, New York, Washington, Utah, Michigan, and Kansas in implementing a ban.