Though it’s not even available in the state at this point, the Idaho House voted Friday to ban powdered alcohol anyway.
Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, addressed the ban bill on the House floor and told his colleagues the substance could pose a threat to minors. He also said some public officials worry the substance could be more easily smuggled into alcohol-free zones, like schools and sports stadiums.
“This has raised concerns throughout the country,” Luker said. “This bill would prohibit that product.”
Some 27 states have already banned the substance, and several others are considering similar legislation this year. Arizona serves as the only holdout. Lawmakers there approved a ban, but Republican Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed the proposal. After rejecting the bill he said the state didn’t need a new law because Arizona’s alcohol regulators already possess the power to keep an eye on the substance.
Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Boise, who opposed the bill, said Idaho’s alcohol regulators have similar powers and Luker’s ban would be unnecessary.
Batt also intimated Idaho lawmakers are rushing to judgement on the product.
“This is a product that’s not even available,” Batt warned. “So, we’re outlawing a product that’s not even for sale yet.”
In his closing argument, Luker said Idaho’s liquor regulators “would like to have clear guidance” from the Legislature on the substance. He rejected Batt’s point that lawmakers are moving too quickly.
“It’s one of those things where if we’re going to do something, we need to get out ahead of the bus and not have it be a problem here,” Luker said.
The House passed the proposal on a 42-to-24 tally. The measure now heads to the Idaho Senate for deliberations.
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