By Adam Lee
INDIANAPOLIS – The House Public Policy Committee postponed a vote Wednesday on a bill that bans powdered alcohol – one day after the company that founded the product announced it had received federal approval to sell it.
Senate Bill 6, authored by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, prohibits Palcohol, which can be placed into any liquid and made into an alcoholic drink. Each serving amounts to a shot of alcohol and come in forms of different types of liquor including rum, vodka and other beverages.
Palcohol officials said on the company website Tuesday that the federal Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau had approved it for sale. But the bureau has not yet made an approval announcement.
“We will be working on getting the production facility up and running,” Palcohol said in an alert on its site. “It will take a while but hopefully it will be available this summer.”
But a dozen states have already banned Palcohol and another 17 states are debating similar legislation to prohibit it, Alting said. If Indiana passes the bill, the ban will supersede any federal rulings, he said.
Lisa Hutcheson, director of the Coalition Against Underage Drinking, told the committee Wednesday the product is a concern.
“We have enough problems with the liquid version of alcohol when it comes to minors,” Hutchinson said. “We certainly do not need powdered to add to that.”
Hutcheson said the ease of access and the ability for one to quickly spike another person’s drink is a worrisome combination. And she said there are reports of people snorting the substance, which could lead to serious medical issues.
But Palcohol officials – who did not appear at Wednesday’s meeting – say on the company website that states are banning the powdered alcohol in reaction to pressure from the liquor industry that wants to “squash competition and protect their market share.”
If the Indiana bill passes, any individual found possessing, purchasing, selling or offering to sell powdered alcohol could be charged with a Class B infraction, which could cost the individual up to $8,000.
The committee held the bill for further discussion and will meet next week for a possible vote.
Adam Lee is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.