By Dani Kass
Law360, New York (July 10, 2017, 5:17 PM EDT) —
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday urged the Food and Drug Administration to launch an investigation into Coco Loko, a snortable chocolate powder meant to give an energy boost, a product he said is likely neither safe nor chocolate.
The U.S. Senate minority leader said the risks of the unregulated powder, made by Florida’s Legal Lean, aren’t actually known, but that since it’s essentially advertised to users as a drug, it should be looked into. Given the company’s advertising, he likened it to “cocaine on training wheels.”
“The math for the FDA is clear: This suspect product has no clear health value,” Schumer said in a statement. “It is falsely held up to be chocolate, when it is a powerful stimulant. And they market it like a drug — and they tell users to take it like a drug, by snorting it. It is crystal clear that the FDA needs to wake up and launch a formal investigation into so-called Coco Loko before too many of our young people are damaged by it.”
Coco Loko is made mostly of the ingredients in energy drinks — gingko biloba, taurine and guarana — but “concentrated,” “masked” and sold as “natural and safe chocolate candy,” the lawmaker said. He compared it to the similarly named Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink that became banned in many states.
Legal Lean’s website doesn’t list the ingredients, but it says the powder leads to a rush of endorphins, serotonin and “euphoric energy,” along with a “calm focus.” The company billed it as “infused raw cacao snuff.”
Legal Lean and a spokeswoman for the FDA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Schumer called the powder a “brazen example of ‘narcotic marketing’ — a product that is marketed like a drug, as well as made to be consumable like a drug, and seem cool to teens and young people. Normalizing stimulants and drug consumption-like behavior is anything but harmless for our young people.”
According to Schumer, Legal Lean didn’t work with any medical professionals to see if the powder is safe. He says the caffeine-related risks are likely related to heart problems and high blood pressure, and snorting-related risks include bloody noses and weakened immune systems.
–Editing by Alyssa Miller.
John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981.
John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder.
In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home.
John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation.
John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates.
Service to the Community
John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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