These types of incidents are often due to bad parenting, which is exactly what parents groups who pushed for the ban are displaying. Alcoholic products will find their way into teenage hands no matter what the law says. Parents shouldn’t thrust their responsibility to monitor their kids’ behavior onto the state.
Ill-conceived as it is, it’s no surprise that the Four Loko ban is likely to increase what its supporters are trying to prevent, at least in the short term. Retailers in Michigan have 30 days to liquidate 55 drinks from their shelves, during which time plenty of college-aged kids will surely want to try “blackout in a can” for themselves. The controversy only makes these types of drinks more appealing to those who haven’t tried them. And even if obtaining Four Loko becomes impossible, aren’t students capable of mixing caffeine and alcohol on their own?
The anti-Four Loko hysteria has succeeded, at least for the time being. But the panic is baseless, no matter how many people have fallen for it. State and federal lawmakers should bring Prohibitionist liquor agencies under control and rescind the various bans. It is regulators, not college students, who should be forced to sober up.
Robert Soave is a writer and Michigan native. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.