Colorado Lawmakers Consider Banning Powdered Alcohol
DENVER (AP) — Powdered alcohol won't be immediately sold in Colorado stores if the product gets federal approval, under a proposal advanced by state lawmakers Monday.
The product is marketed as a fast, easy way to get a shot of vodka or rum on-the-go by mixing the powder with water in a pouch. But lawmakers in several states are wary of how easy it would be for children to access it or to sneak it into schools, or for adults to bring it to public events.
Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned powdered alcohol, and a handful of other states are considering following suit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The measure advanced by a Colorado House committee Monday puts a ban on the sale of the product, called Palcohol, until there's a state regulatory system in place.
"We believe it's a time for caution, a time to do the research," said Doug Darr, a retired sheriff who testified on behalf of the County Sheriffs of Colorado.
Lipsmark, the company that owns Palcohol, has said it doesn't expect the product to be available until later this spring at the earliest. It's still waiting for labeling approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
Product makers say the goal is convenience. They tout potential uses on flights, after long hikes and as an antiseptic in remote locations.
In addition to law enforcement, the bill is supported by the restaurant and liquor industry. No one testified against the proposal.
"Although the intent of powdered alcohol is to make drinking alcohol easier and more portable, it has the potential to be misused," said Republican Rep. JoAnn Windholz, the sponsor of the bill.
Karen Kristopeit-Parker, a restaurant and nightclub owner, spoke for the Colorado Restaurant Association, saying they're worried they'll be liable for drunken patrons who sneak in powdered alcohol without their knowledge.
"I'm very concerned about the ease in which a patron could bring a pouch of powdered alcohol into my restaurant or into my nightclub," she said.
The Denver Broncos agree with the proposal to ban Palcohol.
"It's a little easier to sneak that packet into the stadium than a bottle," Broncos lobbyist Bill Artist said at a legislative breakfast Monday.
– by AP Reporter Ivan Moreno