Palcohol gets split decision in committee

Posted at 10:39 AM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 19:16:48-05

A House panel has moved a bill to ban the sale and possession of powdered alcohol to the amending order, giving it a chance to be heard before the full House.

The measure, House Bill 331, creates a blanket prohibition on powdered alcohol. The substance, commonly referred to as palcohol, is liquor infused into a dextrin powder that stays in powder form until mixed with more liquid. The  Idaho State Liquor Division is pushing the bill on the argument this alcoholic product somehow creates unique hazards.

"Concerns include misuse by irresponsible adults of legal drinking age and more importantly underage persons," said Jeff Anderson, Director of ISLD. "Also, improperly mizing with less than the prescribed amount of water which, on the package, indicates 200 ml which is almost 7 ounces."

The bill has split the House State Affairs Commitee, the panel that debated it Thursday. Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, said he opposes the product.

"I think it's a dangerous product," he said. "I don't think we should have it here. Anyone who says it won't get abused is wrong. All those types of products will eventually get abused at some point."

WATCH: A man tests concerns with powdered alcohol

Another group of the panel felt there was no need for the legislation. Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Wilder, led a proposal to keep the bill in committee, effectively killing it.

"I think there's a lot of questions left and we don't even have a product here to worry about regulating at this point," she said.

In the end, the panel had a split vote to send the bill to the amending order. Within the majority, there was no voiced concerns of the heart of the bill. Rather, lawmakers worried specific language may conflict with other codes.