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Powdered Alcohol Preemptively Banned in 31 States

Lawmakers worry it could trigger a new teen drinking craze

Palcohol

Powdered alcohol, arguably a very bad idea, has been banned in a majority of U.S. states before ever even hitting the market. A press release from industry watchdog group Alcohol Justice says "31 states have now legislated or regulated complete bans on powdered alcohol."

It looks like California is next in line to ban the substance; two bills are currently being ushered through the state legislative process, with 113 out of 120 state lawmakers voting in favor of the ban. Nine other states also have bans pending, and only three states currently allow the sale of powdered alcohol (Texas, Colorado, and Arizona).

The product, manufactured under the name Palcohol, has been highly controversial since it was first announced in 2014. The product, which — theoretically, at least — comes in rum and vodka forms as well as in mixed drink flavors like Cosmopolitan and Lemon Drop, is intended to be mixed with water for an instant cocktail, but many worry that the product will spur a new underage drinking craze. Palcohol was approved for sale by the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) last March, but it has yet to make it to store shelves: Palcohol's website currently says, "We will be working on getting the production facility up and running. It will take a while but hopefully it will be available soon."

Palcohol also accuses lawmakers of moving to ban its product without being fully informed, writing on its website, "A proposed ban of powdered alcohol in other states is denying millions of responsible adults and hundreds of businesses a chance to use this legal, safe and revolutionary new product that has applications in medicine, energy, hospitality, the military, manufacturing, etc. as well as reducing the carbon footprint by being so much lighter to ship than liquid alcohol."

An early version of Palcohol's website suggested the substance could be snorted, though the makers soon removed that verbiage and bulked up the product so users would have to put a massive quantity up their nose to achieve the desired intoxication effect. It also suggested Palcohol would make it easy to sneak alcohol into venues serving overpriced drinks, though the website now suggests that is "not true."

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