Powdered alcohol gets Washington OK

Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 12, 2015
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Soon you can get your hands on some Palcohol — or powdered alcohol, for those who don’t know.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved Palcohol for sale. However, spokesman Tom Hogue said despite approval at the federal level, the product is still subject to state regulations.

Lipsmark, the company which makes Palcohol said it aims to get it on the market by the summer.

But clearing state hurdles could be tough. Alaska has already prohibited it, and six other states have taken regulatory action against it, including Louisiana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

And Senator Charles Schumer from New York on Thursday introduced a bill against powdered alcohol. “I am in total disbelief that our federal government has approved such an obviously dangerous product,” said Schumer, in a statement. “Congress must take matters into its own hands and make powered alcohol illegal.”

Schumer detailed some of the “brazen” statements on Lipsmark’s original website, which have since been removed, where “the company suggested illegally bringing Palcohol to stadium events to avoid overpriced drinks” and “even explained that Palcohol could be snorted to get drunk ‘almost instantly.'”

The company said in a statement that it will “write to legislators to explain why a ban is the wrong action to take.”

Creator Mark Phillips explained in a web video that some “edgy wording” on the company site had given the false impression that the product might be used illegally “and everything went nuts.”

The company had a false start in April of 2014 when it was initially approved. But regulators switched the green light back to red, albeit temporarily, over concerns that it might get abused by kids. But this week, the product was okayed again.

Phillips said that, contrary to popular opinion, it’s not easy for kids to get a hold of it. It will be sold to customers over 21 years of age. He also said that it’s not easy to surreptitiously spike drinks with it, because it takes too long to dissolve to be able to do something like that secretly.

Phillips also said that people should not try to snort it.

“Because of the amount of alcohol in powdered alcohol, snorting it is very painful,” he said Phillips in his video, as he holds a glass of white powder. “It burns a lot. It hurts. Why would someone spend an hour of pain and misery snorting all of this powder to get one shot into their system?”

He insisted that the powder is “perfect for hiking and backpacking.”

“You can drink right out of the bag,” Phillips said, pouring water into a bag of powdered vodka and then shaking it before taking a sip. “Ah! It’s wonderful.”