Illinois State Sen. Ira Silverstein of Chicago is the sponsor of a bill that would ban the sale of powdered alcohol, a product that has yet to reach store shelves. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports the proposal amends Illinois’ Liquor Control Act of 1934.
The FDA approved the product ‘in error’ in April 2014 before almost immediately reversing the approval.
Silverstein says his legislation is a “public safety bill” and doesn’t want the powered alcohol products to reach stores. Powdered alcohol is defined in Silverstein’s bill as “any powder or crystalline substance containing alcohol produced for human consumption.”
The website for Palcohol says that their product has both a digestible beverage formula and the industrial formula which is non-digestible. The site also claims that Prohibition has been proven not to work. “So the responsible action by a legislature should be to regulate powdered alcohol to keep it out of the hands of underage drinkers by having it sold in licensed liquor stores where a person must present a valid ID,” the website said.
Illinois’ plan comes as alcoholic powder producer, Palcohol, wants to make its line of products available to the public this spring. The company says banning their product would create a black market, making their perceived dangerous product into a truly dangerous product since there will be no regulation in a black market.
Silverstein’s legislation follows the lead of nearly a dozen states including New Jersey and New York that already passed similar bans on powdered alcohol. Will Arizona follow suit, or will its large retirement population campaign against it of legislation is introduced?
There has been a buzz this week surrounding the news of the supposed approval for sale of powdered alcohol called simply Palcohol. Reports surfaced that the substance was given the green light by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau earlier this month.
Then news hit again that the agency postponed that approval pending a possible labeling issue. If it does get ultimate approval, this will be the first and only product like it on the market. The Palcohol website chides news sources as promoting incorrect information and insists it was a small and easily fixable issue.
Palcohol was invented by a man named Mark Phillips and is being packaged and distributed by a company named Lipsmark. It is available in V for vodka and R for rum, as well as some mixed drink flavors. The concept is that it is distilled aclohol in powdered form, so that once you add 5 oz. of water to a packet it is the equivalent of one standard drink.
It is billed as being portable for adults on the go who want to be able to have alcohol available to them without having the hassle of lugging bottles around, but the form seems susceptible to being abused by young people. Lipsmark says on it’s site that it has added extra powder to the formula as a deterrent to snorting it, but non-descript powders can be easily masked by teens and the abuse potential still seems high.
Whether or not the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau winds up giving permanent approval for Palcohol remains to be seen. If it does, then new challenges will have to be met to help limit potential damage by this new substance. Although the substance is different, the synthesis of it presents similar problems to other powdered drugs and teens.