Saturday, January 15, 2011

Neo-Prohibitionist Wants Your Rum and Cola

Our governing leaders always seem to be concerned that someone, somewhere, might be enjoying their life, especially if they're enjoying it in a way that doesn't involve taxpayer-funded frisbee golf courses or ice skating rinks.  As a case in point, Iowa Freedom Report's Steve Hoodjer reports that one legislative teetotaler, Iowa state Senator Brian Schoenjahn (D-Arlington), has proposed a ban on the "dangerous" practice of mixing alcohol and caffeinated substances (like pop or coffee).

According to Hoodjer: 
Simple possession of such drinks would land a person in jail for 30 days and bartenders who mix caffeinated cocktails would cost their employers their liquor licenses permanently. It is not clear whether the Senator introduced the measure as a means of increasing unemployment in the entertainment sector or if he is merely looking to drive up prison populations in an effort to stave off cutbacks in criminal justice spending.
Hoodjer also quotes Reason magazine's Hit and Run blog that also picked up on the story:
[The bill] apparently applies not only to drinks with a noticeable caffeine kick but also to coffee-flavored liqueurs with detectable amounts of the stimulant, such as Kahlua or Tia Maria, and any cocktails made with them, such as a Black Russian or a Mudslide. In addition to jail time and fines, violators would face revocation (not just suspension) of their liquor licenses, and therefore loss of their livelihoods—a pretty harsh penalty for following the instructions in a Mr. Boston book.
Although Schoenjahn, the latter-day Elliot Ness who proposed the ban, is a Democrat, Hoodjer worries that the bill could make it out of committee "if nanny-state Republicans cross the aisle to support it[.]"  If this legislative buzzkill does pass, it will no doubt be followed, at some point, by the formation of yet another blue-ribbon panel of state hand-wringers who will spend my tax money to try to figure out why young adults flee Iowa in droves.  It's enough to drive a man to drink!

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