The State Liquor Authority may try to change New York law in order to ban Four Loko and other powerful caffeinated cocktails, officials said yesterday.
The revelation came as lawmakers in Michigan voted to ban the high-octane drinks, which have recently come under fire for their potency and popularity among young people.
"Obviously, we're concerned. We're considering changing the rules," said William Crowley, spokesman for the Liquor Authority. "The problem is, as it's written, the statute doesn't give us the power to ban these products."
New York law doesn't allow the Liquor Authority to ban specific products that have already been approved by federal agencies, Crowley said.
The Food and Drug Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are reexamining the drinks and considering new regulations.
Four Loko and similar products like Joose are fruit-flavored alcohol-energy drinks that boast 12% alcohol and the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee.
At just $3 for a 24 oz. can, the drinks are also popular on college campuses. Nine students at Central Washington University were hospitalized last month after a Four Loko-fueled party.
Four Loko also played a role in last month's gay bias attack in the Bronx. Attackers allegedly forced the victim to guzzle four cans of the drink during the beating.
Central Washington, Ramapo College in New Jersey and others have banned the beverages.
Makers of Four Loko have said the drink is no different from other caffeine and alcohol combinations like rum and cola, Red Bull and vodka or Irish coffee.