After a long legal battle, sodas larger than 16 ounces are free, once and for all, to roam the streets of New York City without fear of persecution.

The city lost its final appeal on the soda ban in New York's State Court of Appeals today, exhausting its legal options for reinstating a rule that became a point of contention as soon it was enacted under Michael Bloomberg in 2012. Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. wrote in his decision that the city's Board of Health "exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority" with the ban, which two lower state courts had already ruled against.

The city health board vowed to continue the fight against sugar after the decision. From the New York Times:

In a statement, the city's health commissioner said the ruling "does not change the fact that sugary-drink consumption is a key driver of the obesity epidemic."

"We will continue to look for ways to stem the twin epidemics of obesity and Type 2 diabetes by seeking to limit the pernicious effects of aggressive and predatory marketing of sugary drinks and unhealthy foods," wrote the commissioner, Dr. Mary T. Bassett.

The good news, even if you're not a Coke drinker: Due to a jurisdictional loophole, the rule would have prevented the delis that dominate New York City's bubbly-beverage landscape from peddling big drinks, but not larger convenience stores like 7-Eleven. Now, your buddies at the corner bodega keep their even footing against the big guys.

[Image via AP]