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Maryland takes out Four Loko

Maryland becomes the latest state to put the kibosh on Four Loko.

On Wednesday, Comptroller Peter Franchot convinced two Maryland trade groups to stop distributing the alcoholic caffeinated drink to its members, The Sun reports this morning.

Franchot cited the death of Courtney Perry, who Midnight Sun told you about Monday, as a motivating factor in the move.

The Maryland Beer Wholesalers association, a group of 22 businesses that distributes most of the alcohol in the state, agreed to stop importing the drink.

As did its board, which represents about a third of Maryland's roughly 6,000 licensed alcohol stores and bars.

The move comes after the Food and Drug Administration issued letters to beverage makers labeling caffeine as an "unsafe food additive" to alcoholic drinks. And warned the government could seize their products unless the manufacturers pull them or prove their products are safe. 

Proving they're safe or unsafe might be difficult to do, seeing as scientists haven't reached a conclusion themselves. For one there's no evidence these drinks are any more unsafe than caffeinated drinks like Red Bull, according to a study by the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.

And even in that study, researchers said "the relationship between energy-drink use and increased risk of alcohol abuse is not entirely clear." They also acknowledged "causality may go in either direction."

The Maryland trade groups' agreement doesn't force liquor stores to immediately yank the product from their shelves. But prepare to start seeing poorly written "We stop selling Four Loko" signs popping up in stores and bodegas around town.

If you don't know what Four Loko is:  "The often fruity drinks are popular among the young, who say they like the way the caffeine mitigates the soporific effects of the alcohol."

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

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