Is Powdered Alcohol, aka Palcohol, Now Legal?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 16, 2015 11:23 AM

A powdered alcohol drink mix going by the name of Palcohol has been approved for sale in the United States, but at least one senator is trying to rain on the powdered booze parade.

So how close are you to getting your hands on a pouch of Powderita? Let's take a look at the law as it currently stands:

Powder to the People

According to Palcohol's website, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved its powdered alcohol for sale on March 10. The product had previously been approved last year, but the TTB rescinded that approval because of problems with the labeling on Palcohol's powder pouches.

Palcohol comes in pouches of either pre-made powder cocktails like a cosmopolitan, mojito, or the aforementioned Powderita, or straight powder vodka or rum. The cocktails are designed to be mixed with water, while the vodka or rum powders can be blended with orange juice, soda, or other mixers.

Lipsmark, the company that produces Palcohol, is still waiting on a patent for its powdered alcohol product, but expects to have pouches available to consumers in the United States, abroad, and online by this summer.

Enter Senator Buzzkill...

But at least one lawmaker, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), is trying to derail the powdered alcohol train before consumers can get to chugging. Schumer has introduced legislation that would ban the production, sale, and possession of any powdered alcohol, stating in a news release:

I am in total disbelief that our federal government has approved such an obviously dangerous product, and so, Congress must take matters into its own hands and make powdered alcohol illegal. Underage alcohol abuse is a growing epidemic with tragic consequences and powdered alcohol could exacerbate this.

According to Schumer, the ability to be easily concealed and/or snorted increases the danger to users, especially teenagers.

Lipsmark points out that because "the product isn't even on the market yet, there is not one shred of evidence that it will be used or abused any differently than liquid alcohol." The Palcohol website also notes, "people can snort black pepper ... so do we ban it? No, just because a few goofballs use a product irresponsibly doesn't mean you ban it."

So Palcohol lives ... for now. But will it end up going the way of Four Loko?

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