BOSTON – State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury) emphasized the importance of his legislation to ban the sale of powdered alcohol after the product labeling was approved by federal regulators on Tuesday.
While the freeze-dried alcohol in powdered form known as ‘Palcohol’ is now eligible for sale under federal standards, states across the country have moved to institute their own regulations. Last year Vermont, South Carolina and Louisiana all passed laws banning the sale of powdered alcohol, and nearly a dozen more states are now considering legislation. Concerns about the product are largely motivated by fears about its toxicity, and potential for abuse.
“The federal approval of powdered alcohol has significant ramifications for Massachusetts. The prevalence of alcohol related incidents, including drunk driving and alcohol poisoning, are indicative of the serious issues raised by this product,” said Senator Moore. “Our first priority when considering this substance must be the safety of our residents.”
Senator Moore’s legislation, SD.524, an Act regulating powdered alcohol, would establish the necessary standards and regulations to protect residents of the Commonwealth. The bill first defines powdered alcohol, before prohibiting the sale, possession and manufacturing of the substance in Massachusetts. The language does not prevent state institutions, colleges and universities, and pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies from using the product for scientific research.
The Treasurer’s office released an advisory through the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission late Thursday, which contends that existing language may contain some measure of protection. Wary of the impending federal ruling, Senator Moore filed the related legislation on January 15th as a preemptive measure. According to Senator Moore, “while other administrative options exist, a legislative solution is the best way to ensure sustainable and effective enforcement of the law. Because the regulations are still unfolding as the product’s availability grows nearer, I will also pursue the enactment of this language through the upcoming Senate budget. I look forward continuing my work on this issue with my colleagues in the Legislature.”
Health experts have expressed numerous concerns about the product, including its potency. People unfamiliar with the product may inadvertently misuse the product, leading to greater possibility of alcohol poisoning and other health risks. Additionally, the weight and delivery method makes the product more accessible to children than traditional alcohol, a worry that has been exacerbated by colorful packaging and appealing flavors. How easily the product can be concealed leads to a greater potential for abuse in public events and venues where alcohol is prohibited, particularly among underage drinkers.
Senator Moore’s bill is currently awaiting assignment to a committee where it will have a public hearing before being considered by the members. To learn more about the bill, and the advisory on the product’s federal approval and potential state action, visit the ABCC website: http://www.mass.gov/abcc/.