The state Senate passed a bill on March 12 that would ban the sale of powdered alcohol in Tennessee. This bill has not yet been voted in the House yet. It is scheduled to on April 1.
It comes a day after a federal agency approved the product with the brand name “Palcohol.”
Senate Bill 374, which is sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and House Bill 404, which is sponsored by Representative Sheila Butt, R- Columbia, would make it a misdemeanor offense to sell the powdered alcohol.
When mixed with water, it essentially becomes a cocktail. It’s being promoted as a product that can be easily transported by the consumer, which drug prevention advocates say is the biggest issue.
“You mix powder with water. This could lead to binge drinking because teens can mix numerous packets into one cup of water which could lead to alcohol poisoning,” said Deborah Huddleston of the Metropolitan Drug Commission.
The product would be easy to conceal for those underage.
‘Palcohol’ on its website says that is not true.
“Palcohol is sold wherever liquid alcohol is sold and the same rules apply – you must be 21 years or older to buy it,” the maker states.
But under Tennessee law, powdered alcohol products would not be defined as an alcoholic beverage because it is not a liquid.
Therefore, it could be sold to minors in grocery stores, over the Internet, or other retail outlets.
“Teens are going to be able to conceal a small packet of powder easier than a bottle of alcohol. That is something parents need to be concerned about,” said Huddleston.
There are several other concerns lawmakers have, including liability issues for owners of bars and nightclubs. It would be easy to conceal. It would also be easy with other forms of alcohol, making it more potent.
According to Palcohol, the product is expected to be available in stores this summer.
Thirteen states have passed similar laws already. We thank Senator Ketron and Representative Butt for being proactive.