Powdered alcohol hasn’t even hit the shelves yet, but states have already been racing to ban it, as New York joined 20 other states in outlawing it on Friday.
As soon as the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau granted authorization for the license in March, Mark Phillips, the founder of Palcohol, got ready to hit the market with the powder that makes cocktails and alcohol beverages when water is added. But before we get a chance to taste the strangely attractive product, Phillips must win a tough war with the lawmakers from Hawaii to Maine, who are skeptical about the powdered alcohol and are dead set on keeping it from reaching the public.
Maine’s Democrat Representative, Mick Devin, said that lawmakers across the country are trying to get laws approved before the product is released on the market. Devin himself proposed a bill asking for the restriction of Palcohol as soon as it gained federal approval. In the latest example, New York governor Andrew Cuomo just signed into effect legislation which bans its manufacture, distribution, selling and possession in the state. So far, the odds are really not in Phillips’ favor; powdered alcohol has already been banned in 20 states, with two others enacting temporary bans, with lawmakers opposing Palcohol fearing that this is another step in making alcohol abuse even easier for minors.
However, Phillips thinks some other players might have a saying in this determined opposition: major companies in the liquor industry. Palcohol represents serious competition and Phillips argues that his product doesn’t present any more danger than the traditional liquid alcohol. Banning it will almost surely increase the demand. Phillips also reminded people that prohibition is not the way to go – as we’ve tried it before and it didn’t work. Banning a certain product is a sure way to make people desire it even more.
Palcohol is designed to come in a small recipient that converts to a shot of alcohol when water, soda or juice is added. You can make rum or vodka drinks, as well as margaritas and Comopolitans. Phillips still awaits federal authorization for a lemon drop version. The product targets people who enjoy outdoors activities, such as hiking, who also want to carry alcoholic beverages with them without the hassle of heavy bottling. However, Devin and other opposing lawmakers are concerned about other harmful uses of the product, such as snorting the powder or teens slip it into sport events and parties. At the same time, the possibility to swiftly spike someone’s drink increases dramatically.
Phillips is doing his best to offer knowledge and educate the public and the legislators who have the power to ban his product. However, he definitely doesn’t have the resources to fight all the proposals against it and ignorance and fear of the new will most likely cause a lot of states to adopt the ban.
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