Powdered alcohol ban proposed

Powdered alcohol — also known as Palcohol — is in something of a regulatory gray area.

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau granted Palcohol “label approval” in 2015, a precursor to the product hitting the shelves in the U.S.

But as of November, 27 states have preemptively banned the substance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Idaho could join this list.

The House State Affairs Committee Wednesday introduced a bill banning the possession, use, sale and purchase of Palcohol — at the behest of the state’s Liquor Division.

In the bill’s “statement of purpose,” the division is concerned that the “inherent concealability” of Palcohol can allow illegal drinking in high school cafeterias or football stadiums. The division also is concerned that people might “snort” the powdered and concentrated alcohol for a faster effect.

Law enforcement, school officials and the beverage alcohol industry support the proposed ban, Liquor Division Director Jeff Anderson told the committee. (More from Wednesday’s committee hearing from the Associated Press.)

Critics’ concerns are unfounded, Palcohol founder Mark Phillips told the Associated Press Wednesday. “They have no evidence to base any of their assertions.”

The Palcohol ban, House Bill 331, is the first bill formally introduced by the 2016 Legislature. The bill would likely come back to House State Affairs for a full hearing.