Councilman Seeks to Ban Powdered Alcohol

Phot courtesy of jeffreysterlingmd.com

WASHINGTON — City Councilman Kenyan McDuffie wants to ban the sell and use of powdered alcohol in the District before it even hits shelves in this summer.

McDuffie (D-Ward 5) has introduced a bill that he said he hopes will ban the sale of the product in Washington.

Powdered alcohol, or "palcohol," is alcohol in the form of powder that can be mixed with water or other liquids to produce an alcoholic drink mix. The substance was created by Mark Phillips, an Arizona businessman, and although it was preliminarily approved for sale by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, many states have already passed legislation to ban it, including Maryland.  

“I am deeply concerned about the potential threat of alcohol poisoning associated with the use of powdered alcohol, particularly among underage consumers," McDuffie said in a press release.

 “Such products are easily concealed and can also be used inconspicuously to ‘spike’ an individual’s drink, which creates a dangerous situation I want to prevent at all costs.”

Opponents of palcohol have said they fear minors may have access to it and that it may lead to spiked drinks and alcohol poisoning.  

McDuffie’s bill has the support of nine other councilmembers, but has not yet been passed.  

Phillips, owner of Lipsmark LLC, a privately held company based in Arizona, argued in a YouTube video those calling for the ban don’t understand the product. He also said McDuffie's fear of alcohol poisoning in underage consumers is unfounded.

To see the video, click here.

"Palcohol is sold wherever liquid alcohol is sold and the same rules apply,” he said.  “You must be 21 years or older to buy it."  

According to the company’s website, palcohol has so many positive uses in medicine, energy, travel, hospitality and manufacturing as well as for individuals.

“It’s a revolutionary new product that can help so many industries," the company said.

The powder will come in a pouch, Phillips explained in the video.  Although approved by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau, states still have the power to regulate its sale and use.

Maryland's Comptroller Peter Franchot led the charge in the state to prevent powdered  alcohol frm from hitting stores.

“This product, by its very nature, presents a significant and untenable risk to the health and safety of Maryland consumers,” Franchot said in a press release.

“The likelihood of widespread palcohol abuse – particularly among underage consumers – carries a real possibility of tragic consequences, which is why I’m so pleased by the industry’s unified response to protect the public from such a dangerous product."