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Lawmakers introduce bill to ban powdered alcohol

Lawmakers introduce bill to ban powdered alcohol

Dustin Hurst
January 13, 2016
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January 13, 2016

House State Affairs Committee members introduced a bill Monday that would ban the sale and use in Idaho of powdered alcohol, dubbed Palcohol.

The Idaho Liquor Division, the legislation’s sponsor, wants Idaho to join the numerous other states that have already banned the substance, which last year was given initial approval for consumption by the federal government.

“Powdered alcohol is considered dangerous, unnecessary, and prone to abuse,” said Jeff Anderson, the division’s leader.

Anderson worried minors would abuse the substance, or Idahoans would fail to add the proper amount of water to the powder, thereby potentially leading to harmful effects.

He noted, another negative aspect of the powder is its “inherent concealability,” which could help people smuggle the substance into alcohol-free zones, whether “it be sports stadiums, school lunchrooms, or et cetera.”

Lawmakers introduced the plan without dissent. It’s likely the House Affairs Committee will give the proposal a full hearing within the next two weeks.

Across the country, 27 states have banned powdered alcohol and more will discuss it this year.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, vetoed his Legislature’s plan to ban the substance, which was invented in his state. Instead of banning it, he directed his government to regulate Palcohol.

"At this time, there does not appear to be evidence that this bill is necessary," Ducey wrote. "I have instructed the director of the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control to review administrative rules to ensure that powdered alcohol is regulated to the same extent as other spirituous beverages."

The Palcohol bans aren’t universally popular. Baylen Linnekin, an adjunct professor at George Mason University, criticized government officials for playing nanny.

“The problems with banning ‘new’ types of drinks because we don't ‘need’ them and they might make life more ‘complicated’ are legion,” he wrote for Reason magazine last year. “A central tenet of food freedom is that adults have a right to consume most any food or drink they want.”

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