Oregon looks to ban sales of powdered alcohol

5 states already banned retail sales

A Palcohol company representative mixes a powdered alcohol drink in this screen grab from a company video. March 30, 2015
A Palcohol company representative mixes a powdered alcohol drink in this screen grab from a company video. March 30, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A bill winding its way through the Oregon legislature would ban retail sales of powdered alcohol.

The concern over the powdered substance centers around whether it could increase alcohol abuse and make it easier for kids to get drunk.

Palcohol, a powdered alcohol drink as seen on their website, March 30, 2015
Palcohol, a powdered alcohol drink as seen on their website, March 30, 2015

The powdered alcohol in a pouch is an add-water-and-stir mixture that would end up as a quick cocktail, vodka or rum, the makers of Palcohol said.

The Arizona-based maker of freeze dried alcohol hopes to start mass producing the product this summer. It’s designed to make it easier to pack along for the outdoors and is no stronger than a bar drink.

Palcohol, a powdered alcohol drink, as seen on their website, March 30, 2015
Palcohol, a powdered alcohol drink, as seen on their website, March 30, 2015

But before it’s even available, Alaska, Vermont, South Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts banned retail sales. Others, like Oregon and Washington, are moving in that direction.

Lawmakers backing the ban fear the drug could be abused by snorting it, spiking drinks and making it easier for kids to get their hands on it.

The company strongly disagrees, and in online videos shows the packaging compared to minibottles. Snorting it is highly painful, the company said, and it’s still a 21-and-over purchase.

But even lobbyists for the beer and wine industry want to keep it off the shelves in Oregon.

“This is not a partisan issue,” said lobbyist Paul Romaine. “I would be shocked if anybody votes against the ban.”

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