State Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, says he'll introduce legislation to ban powdered alcohol in Wisconsin if it becomes available this fall.
It's called “palcahol” and it's been making a lot of news this week. Basically, it's powdered ethanol that comes in two alcohol flavors, vodka and rum, with other drink-flavored powders expected to follow. When the powder is dissolved in five ounces of water, the end result is an alcoholic beverage with the same potency of a standard mixed drink.
Many people, including Carpenter, are concerned that the product will be abused, specifically by young adults and kids. Carpenter plans on talking about it during a June meeting of the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse.
“I'll certainly bring it up to them and talk to other law enforcement folks, people in the legislature who work in this area and try and have a response, certainly if a federal agency approves it,” Carpenter said.
There is confusion about whether powdered alcohol has been approved by the federal government. The manufacturer says the product has been approved but the labeling has not. If it does make it to market, Carpenter says he'll introduce a bill to ban it in the state.
“I wanted to get ahead of it before it starts taking hold,” he said.
Eau Claire Police Department community relations Officer Kyle Roder says powdered alcohol could be hard for law enforcement to spot.
“The powdered form would be very difficult for people to detect coming into a sporting event or some sort of activity,” Roder said. “I could see it being difficult to detect, even in our schools.”
Powdered alcohol products are already available in Germany and the Netherlands.