Powdered alcohol ban introduced to Idaho House committee

By Kathryn Haake, Associated Press | Posted - Jan. 13, 2016 at 4:01 p.m.



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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A bill that would ban the sale, possession and consumption of powdered alcohol in Idaho has been introduced by a committee of lawmakers.

The House State Affairs Committee unanimously agreed Wednesday to hold a hearing on the bill, which targets the substance known as Palcohol.

The U.S. Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved Palcohol's product label in early 2015, but dozens of states have banned the substance before its even available because of its perceived dangers.

Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho State Liquor Division, said the substance is dangerous because it can be easily hidden and carried around. He says that portability could lead to its abuse in places where alcohol is prohibited, like school cafeterias and sports stadiums.

"We have enough issues with the social impacts of beverage alcohol," Anderson said. "Adding another one just didn't seem to be appropriate."

The measure is supported by law enforcement, the beverage alcohol industry and school officials, Anderson said.

Mark Philips, the founder of Palcohol, said powdered alcohol's critics are misinformed.

"They have no evidence to base any of their assertions," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview Wednesday.

Philips said he believes it's "morally irresponsible" to ban powdered alcohol and likened the bill to Prohibition, arguing that if the government doesn't regulate the product, it will seep into communities illegally.

If the bill passes the House and Senate and it's signed by the governor, Idaho will join 27 other states that have already imposed similar measures banning the substance. Colorado and California have passed measures that would allow the sale of the product.

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This story has been corrected to show that the committee introduced the bill for a hearing and it has not yet considered whether to pass the bill.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kathryn Haake

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