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Michigan bans Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks

Stores have 30 days to get them off the shelf.

By Matt Wright - bio | email | Facebook | Twitter

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

TEMPERANCE, MI (WTOL) - The state of Michigan banned the sale of Four Loko and other similar alcoholic energy drinks Thursday. Stores have 30 days to get them off the shelf.

Four Loko is a caffeinated alcohol drink popular with college students across the country. It comes in many flavors like fruit punch, orange, grape and watermelon.

Michigan considers the drinks too risky to keep on store shelves.

"They're hardcore. It's not really something college kids should be drinking," said one college student.

Another said, "There's so much caffeine in them and stuff, they make your heart pound pretty fast."

Michigan is now the second state, behind Utah, to ban the sale of the beverages.

"The commission felt it necessary to ban these types of products to protect the public health and safety of Michigan citizens," Andrea Miller, of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, said. "The safety of ingesting these types of drinks with the mix of stimulants and beer without the FDA's blessing or approval has caused the liquor commission to take action."

Bill Zeiler owns Zeiler's Farm Market in Temperance, MI which sells Four Loko. He says he hasn't yet been contacted about the new ban but says if told to pull it, he will.

"In this economy when you're making money on something and all of a sudden the state tells you you can't sell it anymore, that's not good business," Zeiler said.

While Zeiler says the ban won't but his store out of business, he worries the ban may have a larger impact on other stores.

"There's a lot of stores especially in college towns like Ann Arbor or East Lansing and they sell a ton of it," Zeiler said.

He says he expects to sell his remaining cans quickly. "Once people hear it's banned people will probably come in and buy whatever's left."

A spokesman for the Ohio Division of Liquor Control says the division does not have authority to refuse registration for these products, so a ban in Ohio would likely require action by the Ohio State Legislature.