Md. Lawmakers Discuss Bill Banning Energy Drinks to Minors

Maryland lawmakers met Friday to discuss a bill banning energy drink sales to minors.

The bill would impose penalties on those who distribute or sell energy drinks to minors. A first offense could result in a maximum fine of $500. Fines for distributing free samples can go up to $5,000. People who commit multiple violations in two years can be fined as much as $20,000.

The bill was pushed after 14-year-old Anais Fournier of Hagerstown, Md., died from cardiac arrest after drinking two Monster energy drinks in a 24-hour period in 2012.

Anais' mother, Wendy Crossland, spoke to the House of Delegates Judiciary about the tragic loss of her daughter, who had a mild heart condition. Crossland is suing the maker of the energy drink.

Lawmakers are worried about health risks to minors, NBC4’s Megan McGrath reports.

Some Maryland residents agree with the intent of the bill, but others think 16 is a more logical minimum age, McGrath reports.

Ellen Valentino, executive vice president of the Maryland-Delaware- D.C. Beverage Association, said her group planned to fight the bill at the hearing in Annapolis.

Many coffee products have more caffeine in them than energy drinks, Valentino said. Valentino added that all supplements in energy drinks are FDA-approved.

"Public policy should be based in fact and science, and this bill is based in neither," Valentino said.

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