Ban on alcoholic energy drinks in SC advances

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A bill banning the production and sale of alcohol-laced energy drinks in South Carolina has advanced in the House.

A panel voted unanimously Thursday to send the bill to the House Judiciary Committee. The proposal would bar the distribution of beverages such as Four Loko and Joose that generally are 9 percent or 12 percent alcohol-by-volume and up to 32 ounces each.

Offenders could be fined between $100 and $500 and imprisoned between 30 days and six months. They also would lose their license to sell alcohol for two years.

Federal authorities issued warning letters in November to manufacturers of Four Loko and similar beverages. They say the combination of caffeine and alcohol is dangerous and causes users to become "wide-awake drunk."

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