By CURT WOODWARD
By Shannon Dininny
Associated Press (contributed from Yakima)
OLYMPIA, Wash. – 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.
Some universities also have banned boozy energy drinks from campus while the federal Food and Drug Administration reviews their safety, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Wednesday for a ban in his state.
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.