Upcoming Legislative Actions—Will the Sale of Powdered Alcohol be Banned from Utah?

Following the lead of six other states, Utah lawmakers are considering a new law, which would ban the sale of a new form of alcohol—powdered alcohol. Lipsmark, LLC, a Tempe, Arizona-based company created a product known as “Palcohol.” Palcohol is a powdered form of alcohol that can be mixed with water or other nonalcoholic liquids to create an alcoholic beverage. According to the maker’s of Palcohol, “Palcohol is for the legitimate and responsible enjoyment by consumers and has several applications…”

The company then goes on to list these possible applications as used in outdoor activities; use during travel, and use for hospitality purposes (such as airlines using the powdered form to decrease the weight of the beverages). While this new product has not yet received federal approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, many states are taking preemptory action in order to ban the sale of this product.

Among other reasons, lawmakers are attempting to ban the powdered alcohol by arguing that: 1) people may be tempted to snort the powder rather than mix it with an appropriate liquid; 2) powdered alcohol can be easily snuck into inappropriate areas; 3) children will be able to get ahold of the powder a lot easier than they would a regular alcoholic beverage; and 4) the product will be much more difficult to track than traditional alcoholic beverages since it is more discreet than traditional liquid alcohol.

Even though Palcohol has yet to receive Federal approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade and Bureau, and despite the fact that the FDA has already denied approval of the product for marketing within the United States, Utah State Representative Steve Eliason is currently planning to introduce a bill during Utah’s upcoming legislative session, running from the beginning of January through mid-March, that would effectively ban the sale of this product. Despite the concerns expressed by many lawmakers, and the variety of reasons cited by Representative Eliason, Lipsmark, LLC, contends that the stated reasons for such a ban are the result of “ignorance” and that by creating such a ban, the state is merely creating a black market for the sale of the product that would cause the product to go unregulated. Along with a ban on the sale of the powdered substance, the legislature would have to tackle ancillary issues relating to this product such as whether or not criminal sanctions will be imposed if the product is sold, whether possession of the product will be a criminal offense, and whether the ban might violate any constitutional provisions. For more information on this topic see: http://www.palcohol.com/ http://www.ksl.com/?sid=32914541&nid=148&title=utah-lawmaker-seeks-to-ban-powdered-alcohol&s_cid=queue-10 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/21/newser-powdered-alcohol/7960361/