California is joining 29 other U.S. states in their attempt to ban powdered alcohol or “Palcohol.” SB 819, authored by Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas), would ban or restrict the sale of this product.
29th State to Propose Powdered Alcohol Ban
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Powdered alcohol is a freeze dried version of alcohol which comes in a small pouch and is the equivalent of a shot of alcohol. The crystallized formula becomes a cocktail once mixed with water. Although the product isn’t sold in stores yet, labeling was approved by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in 2014. The technology is not new. It has been around since the 1970s.
The California Senate Governmental Organization (GO) Committee passed the bill in a unanimous 12-0. The bill, “would prohibit the department from issuing a license to manufacture, distribute, or sell powdered alcohol, as defined, and would require the department to revoke the license of any licensee who manufactures, distributes, or sells powdered alcohol, as provided. This bill would prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, offer for sale, distribution, manufacture, or use of powdered alcohol and would make the violation of these provisions punishable as an infraction.”
“This product is dangerous,” said Senator Huff during today’s hearing. “The ease of this substance presents an array of potential health problems in California as it can be snorted, added to energy drinks, slipped to unknowing recipients, or even added to beverages already containing alcohol in an attempt to create a dangerously potent concoction.”
Richard Zaldivar, spokesperson for Alcohol Justice and the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) said, “We applaud Senator Huff (R-Diamond Bar), author of SB 819, Senator Hall, Chair of the GO Committee, and all the GO Committee members for their leadership on this issue. As soon as this bill is passed by the entire legislature and signed by Governor Brown, California will join 28 other states which have already banned the product to protect the health and safety of our young people.”
In March 2015, Alcohol Justice requested emergency legislative action nationwide and in California in response to news that the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) approved labels for the powdered alcohol product, Palcohol. The TTB approval gave a green light to begin marketing it wherever legal. Since then, 28 states have permanently banned powdered alcohol. Two states have enacted temporary one-year statutory bans, and three states are regulating it under existing alcohol statutes.
The bill will now move through one more committee before being voted upon by the full Senate.