Lawmakers consider powdered alcohol prohibition

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 19:25:56-05

The first bill introduced in the 2016 Idaho Legislature would prohibit the possession, sale and consumption of powdered alcohol.

The measure was introduced at the House State affairs committee by the State Liquor Division. Director Jeff Anderson said the use of powdered alcohol brings concerns of underage consumption and substance abuse.

"Everybody knows there are issues with the societal costs from the misuse of beverage alcohol," said Anderson. "Adding another component that could lead to concealability on the part of minors or irresponsible adults of legal drinking age bringing them into sports venues or other places where alcohol is prohibited, it just doesn't seem like we need to go there right now."

Powdered alcohol, or "palcohol," received approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in the spring of 2015. The approved product is 55% alcohol by weight. However, the manufacturer suggests the powder be mixed with 200 ml of water to make a 10% ABV liquor.

"I think the bigger issue is what could occur if it's mixed with improperly with less than 200 ml of water or it's mixed with spirituous liquor already," said Anderson. "If you mixed it with 80 proof vodka you could have a lethal cocktail."

So far, about half of the states have banned the product, including New York and South Carolina. Anderson says the prohibition has the approval of Idaho law enforcement. A trooper from the Idaho State Police attended the hearing, but did not provide comment.