California is one step closer to being the 32nd state to ban powdered alcohol — and the product hasn't even hit store shelves yet.
According to a press release from watchdog group Alcohol Justice, bill SB 819, which "will prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, offer for sale, distribution, manufacture, or use of powdered alcohol in California and would make the violation of those provisions punishable with a fine," previously passed through the state Senate unopposed and has now won unanimous approval from the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. The bill now needs to get approval from the rest of the legislature and then be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
The product, marketed under the name Palcohol, has been highly controversial since it was first unveiled a couple years ago. It's intended to be mixed with water to create an instant cocktail, but many have expressed fears that the product will encourage teenage alcohol abuse. (It doesn't help that the company's own website once suggested the product could (but shouldn't) be snorted.) The makers of Palcohol accuse lawmakers of being quick to judge the product without being fully informed about it, and say it has plenty of legitimate uses including "applications in medicine, energy, hospitality, the military, manufacturing, etc."
Palcohol was approved for sale by the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau last year, but the product has yet to actually go on sale. Its 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." At this point, the company will be extremely limited in where it can actually sell its product, however.