BILL NUMBER: AB 1598 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Beall JANUARY 4, 2010 An act to add Section 25622 to the Business and Professions Code, relating to alcoholic beverages. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 1598, as introduced, Beall. Alcoholic beverages: caffeinated malt beverages. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Act contains various provisions regulating the application for, the issuance of, the suspension of, and the conditions imposed upon, alcoholic beverage licenses by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. This bill would prohibit the import, production, manufacture, distribution, or sale of caffeinated malt beverages, as defined, at retail locations within the state. This bill would also provide that a person that violates this prohibition is guilty of an infraction and would provide for either the imposition of a monetary fine or suspension of the licensee's license for first and 2nd violations of this prohibition and for revocation of the licensee's license for a 3rd violation. By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason. This bill would delay the operative date of this prohibition until 6 months from the bill's effective date. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following: (a) The 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution grants states the authority to regulate the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages. (b) Alcohol is a leading cause of death and injury, from impaired driving to violence, sexual assault, and suicide, and contributes to family and community disruption and poor school performance, among other things. (c) Combining alcohol with caffeine and other stimulants does not ameliorate alcohol's negative effects on one's motor coordination and visual reaction times. (d) Adding caffeine and other stimulants to alcohol is potentially harmful because these additives may impair one's ability to judge his or her own level of intoxication as well as the ability to judge the level of intoxication in someone else. This may result in increased alcohol consumption and can lead drinkers to wrongly conclude that they are capable of engaging in risky and potentially dangerous activities, like operating a motor vehicle or engaging in risky sexual behavior. (e) Young people are particularly vulnerable to increased problems associated with the use of these products as they are more likely to misjudge their own intoxication level, more likely to take risks than adults, and more likely to suffer from high rates of alcohol problems, including alcohol-related traffic accidents, violence, sexual assault, and suicide. (f) The marketing of malt beverage products containing caffeine and other stimulants associates the products with nonalcoholic energy drinks and other soft drinks through the use of containers with similar sizes, shapes, and graphics. These similarities create the potential for confusion among adult and youth consumers, retailers, parents, law enforcement officers, and others regarding the alcohol content of a particular product. (g) The marketing of malt beverage products containing caffeine and other stimulants appears to be directed primarily at young people through the use of nontraditional marketing campaigns, including interacting with consumers through social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and product giveaways at events during spring break or extreme sports venues. (h) The combination of stimulants and depressants may place undue strain on the heart and central nervous system. (i) The overuse of caffeine can result in acute overdoses that can cause health problems including anxiety, heart palpitation, mania, depression, lapses of judgment, and, in extreme cases, death. (j) The marketing messages of malt beverage products containing caffeine and other stimulants imply that they have energizing effects and fail to disclose to consumers the adverse effects and consequences associated with their consumption. SEC. 2. Section 25622 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read: 25622. (a) Beginning on and after six months from the effective date of this section, caffeinated malt beverages shall not be imported into this state, produced, manufactured, or distributed within this state, or sold by a licensed retailer within this state. (b) For purposes of this section, "caffeinated malt beverage" means a beverage for which the producer is required to file a formula for approval with the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau pursuant to Section 25.55 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, that is not exempt under subdivision (f) thereof, and is either of the following: (1) A beverage containing at least 0.5 percent alcohol by volume that is produced by a brewer, as defined in Section 5092 of Title 26 of the United States Code, to which is added or infused caffeine or other stimulants, alone or in combination, including, but not limited to, guarana, ginseng, and taurine. (2) A beverage containing at least 0.5 percent alcohol by volume that is treated by processing, filtration, or another method of manufacture that is not generally recognized as a traditional process in the production of beer, as described in Section 25.55 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, to which is added a flavor or other ingredient containing alcohol, except for a hop extract, and caffeine or other stimulants, alone or in combination, including, but not limited to, guarana, ginseng, and taurine. (c) Any person that violates this section is guilty of an infraction. The department shall, for a first violation of subdivision (a), either impose a monetary penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or suspend the license of the licensee. The department shall, for a second violation of subdivision (a), either impose a monetary penalty of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or suspend the license of a licensee. The department shall, for a third violation of subdivision (a), revoke the license of the licensee. Any monetary penalty imposed under this section shall be deposited in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Fund, for allocation as set forth in subdivision (d) of Section 25761. (d) The department may promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this law. SEC. 3. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.