Nanny Rules; Maryland Proposing to Ban the Sale of Energy Drinks to Minors

Uncle Sam is once again trying to play the role of overbearing nanny, this time trying to ban the sale of energy drinks to minors in Maryland.

Maryland, nicknamed the ‘Free State’, is becoming anything but with this proposed ban. While leaders of the state’s Democratic Party are praising this as an example of progressive government in action, many point out that individuals, not governments, are best-positioned to make their own consumer choices.

“Contrary to popular perception, energy drinks contain less caffeine than a similar sized coffee,” said Ellen Valentino, executive vice president of the Maryland-Delaware-DC Beverage Association. In comparison, a 5-ounce cup of coffee contains 60 to 150 milligrams of caffeine according to  the Food and Drug Administration. Valentino points out that this new legislation misses the mark in many ways; according to the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, coffee accounts for 24 percent of caffeine consumption in children while energy drinks stands at only 6 percent.

Valentino continues, “public policy should be based on facts and science, and this bill is based on neither.”  

The bill, introduced by Democratic Delegate Kathleen Dumais of Montgomery County, defines an energy drink as a beverage containing 71 milligrams or more of caffeine per 12-ounce container with other ingredients (such as taurine and guarana) commonly found in energy drinks. 

On the dangers of energy drinks, Dumais claims, “it’s not a cup of coffee that you might drink over the course of an hour. These things (energy drinks) are guzzled.”

Having neither facts nor science, the proposed bill is nothing more than intrusive government officials trying to impose their will on personal responsibility and choice. Maybe next, over-zealous lawmakers can put restrictions on how fast someone can safely consume an energy drink, or enforce ID checks at coffee shops. Until then, citizens of the ‘Free State’ should enjoy their beverage freedom.    

TAGS: Regulation, Nanny State, issues

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