TTB Approves Labels for Powdered Alcohol; States Take Action

March 12, 2015

March 25: Utah enacts a ban on powdered alcohol - the 5th state to do so since early 2014.

March 23: Eleven more states introduced bills to ban powdered alcohol since our original post. The Massachusetts ABC issued a regulatory decision declaring the product illegal.

The U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau approved labels for the powdered alcohol product Palcohol again this week - almost a year after initially issuing, and then revoking, approval in April 2014. Since then, four states (Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont, & Virginia) have passed legislation to ban powdered and crystalline alcohol products, and the Pennsylvania liquor control board voted unanimously to keep powdered alcohol off of its product lists. Alaska placed a ban on powdered alcohol in 1980. Both Delaware and Michigan have added powdered alcohol to their definitions of alcoholic beverage products, but have not yet banned it (Michigan has proposed legislation to do so). At least fourteen more states are currently considering bills to enact powdered alcohol bans.

Of the four states to enact powdered alcohol bans since 2014, Louisiana prohibits containers with powdered alcohol from being sold in or shipped into the state. Virginia bans containers of powdered alcohol being sold in or shipped out of the state, as well as individual possession, purchase, and sale of powdered alcohol. Vermont bans both possession and sale of powdered alcohol, and specifies penalties and amounts for fines. South Carolina made it unlawful for individuals to use, offer for use, purchase, offer to purchase, sell, offer to sell, or possess powdered alcohol; banned licensed on- and off-premise outlets from using powdered alcohol; and specified fine amounts for repeated violations.

Bill sponsors and supporters cite a long list of health and safety concerns including: easy youth access to the packets; similar size and shape of packets to nonalcoholic children's drink packets; combining multiple packets to make a single drink; mixing powder alcohol with liquid alcohol; mixing powdered alcohol with energy drinks; concealment by underage drinkers attending events/locations where alcohol is prohibited; and ingestion of the product by snorting.

Visit our Dangerous Products legislative activity page to find current bills on powdered alcohol, as well as caffeinated alcohol products and increased allowable amounts of alcohol by volume.

Read our letter asking California legislators to ban powdered and crystalline alcohol products.

TAKE ACTION: Send a letter to California legislators telling them to ban powdered alcohol.