A Minnesota lawmaker is proposing a state moratorium on powdered alcohol following its federal approval this week.
The bill would prohibit the manufacture and sale of powdered alcohol in the state until June 1, 2016, and after the state has a chance to assess the safety of the product.
Palcohol, the brand name for powdered alcohol, mixes with water to create an instant cocktail, The product includes powdered vodka or rum and the flavors in popular drinks like cosmopolitans and margaritas. Because the U.S. Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau recently approved it, Palcohol could be on store shelves by summer.
Several states have considered banning the product for fear that it could be easily accessible to children. Palcohol companies have pushed back, saying the fears are unfounded and that their product of just-add-water alcohol was created for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who don't want to lug around bottles of liquor.
Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, proposed an outright ban last session but withdrew the bill after he had a conversation with Palcohol staff. He said his bill this year stems partly from concerns expressed by parents and school board members in his southeast metro district. He said he does not intend to pursue a permanent ban, but also has not ruled that out.
"I could certainly go there if the evidence demonstrates it's more harmful than beneficial," Atkins said. "I just didn't buy the line, which was something like 'I can take it hiking with me.' I just think it's silly. Not having to carry a bottle of alcohol with me will lighten the load, but I still have to carry the water that's going to be needed. If that's the best they can come up with, I think they should try again."
Atkins said he is confident the bill can get a hearing in the House Commerce Committee before Friday's deadline. If not, he plans to introduce it as an amendment to the omnibus liquor bill.