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Three Weeks After ATF Approves Powdered Alcohol, Florida Senate Votes To Ban It

| March 30, 2015

Dry it up again. (Robert V)

Dry it up again. (Robert V)

Spirits aren’t high on the future of powdered alcohol being mixed in Florida.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Monday unanimously supported a measure (SB 998) that would prohibit the sale and possession of powdered alcohol throughout the state.


The effort to ban powdered alcohol comes shortly after the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the sale of a powdered alcohol called Palcohol by the privately held company Lipsmark LLC.

Under the bill, a person selling powdered alcohol would face a first-degree misdemeanor. A second violation within five years would carry a third-degree felony.

The Senate measure also proposes a $250 fine for using or possessing powdered alcohol unless the product is utilized for research or is being commercially transported through the state.

The House version (HB 1247) doesn’t include similar language regarding possession.

During an earlier committee meeting, Sen. Gwen Margolis, a Miami Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, called Palcohol “something new in the scheme of how to get high in this country.”

One of Margolis’ legislative assistants presented the bill Monday, and the Commerce and Tourism Committee approved it with little comment.

On its website, Lipsmark says sales won’t begin until this summer.

Palcohol is comprised of powder from distilled vodka or distilled Puerto Rican rum. The product will be sold in single pouches, each equal to a shot and intended to be mixed with water, cola or juice, Lipsmark’s website says.


Palcohol could be mixed with water to make vodka or rum. Republicans fear it could be smuggled into football games or concerts, a claim its makers dispute.


Sen. Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican who initially filed legislation this year against powdered alcohol, told lawmakers during an earlier committee meeting that the product was once promoted as something that could be smuggled “illegally into football games and into concerts … in additional to a series of other illegal and questionable activities.”

Palcohol creator Mark Phillips has posted a YouTube video disputing similar claims.

“Palcohol is not some sort of super-concentrated version of alcohol, it’s simply one shot of alcohol in powdered form,” Phillips said in the video.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved Palcohol, but in a clarifying note posted on March 13 stated that “at this time the FDA does not have a legal basis to block market entry of this product.”

Florida lawmakers, with backing from the Beer Industry of Florida, Florida Beer Wholesalers and the Wine & Spirits Distributors of Florida, aren’t alone in seeking the keep the product off the shelves.

The product has already been banned by Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.

Federal legislation has been introduced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to make the production, sale and possession of powdered alcohol illegal.

Delaware and Michigan have defined powdered alcohol as an alcoholic beverage.

Ellen Snelling, chair of the Florida Coalition for Alcohol Policy, urged the Commerce and Tourism Committee on Monday to support the ban rather than consider regulating Palcohol.

“We feel like we already have an underage drinking problem in the state of Florida,” Snelling said. “This type of a product, the only way we can see it being used, is to be abused, especially by young people.”

On its website, Lipsmark argues against legislative bans and dismisses claims that people will snort, illegally smuggle or spike other people’s drinks with the product.

“No one wants the government telling us what we can drink and not drink. We don’t need a nanny,” Lipsmark says on its website. “The legislature exists to protect our rights to live how we choose, not to use coercive power to force their values on us.”

The committee approval Monday was the second in the Senate for the measure. The bill must go to the Rules Committee before reaching the Senate floor.

The House version cleared its first panel last Tuesday and awaits a hearing before the Appropriations Committee.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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8 Responses for “Three Weeks After ATF Approves Powdered Alcohol, Florida Senate Votes To Ban It”

  1. Anonymous says:

    These legislators have created an instant black market for this power.

  2. Rob says:

    These legislators have created an instant black market for powdered alcohol. It’s more like they are protecting beverage manufacturers.

  3. tulip says:

    Yep, create more ways to get people drunk and allow underage kids to get it more easily and create a cash cow for those who wish to sell it on the black market. After all, if marijuana goes legal, the thugs will need another money crop of something. I question the intelligence of the human race sometimes.

    There is no reason to have this product available. People scream about their right to have guns and now more and more people are being killed every day, barrooms can be open til 1 a. m., which gives more time to get drunk and drive, and some want to legally socialize marijuana so people can walk around with numbed up minds.

    With all that going on and the total mind absorbtion of texting and social media, human beings are changing for the worst.

    • Chuck says:

      People scream about their right to have guns and now more and more people are being killed every day, barrooms can be open til 1 a. m., which gives more time to get drunk and drive, and some want to legally socialize marijuana so people can walk around with numbed up minds.

  4. Ariana says:

    You would think that by now, our PowersThatBe would realize that OUTLAWING a product is just a way to boost sales… Prohibition never stopped anyone from brewing alcohol in their yards, sheds, and even bathtubs. Once it was regulated instead, there was a way to recoup monies that were not previously tapped into; and the amount of alcohol contained in a single drink is now “standardized”, within reason, which will lead to LESS unintentional alcohol “overdoses” or alcohol poisonings. There is nothing you can do about the ones that are consciously overindulging–they were going to do that anyway, regardless of what you do to regulate or standardize or outlaw.

    Outlawing marijuana certainly didn’t stop people from smoking it–those states that have legalized it have seen a reduction in crime rates and a boost to revenue by taxing and regulating it. Something these old farts here in FL refuse to acknowledge, because for SOME reason they feel if they keep it illegal, it will keep it out of their state. Newsflash : it’s been here for ever, and it isn’t going anywhere. The only thing you are accomplishing by keeping it illegal, is now you are designating a greater portion of your tax dollars to fund jails/prisons that are currently overcrowded with people that are incarcerated for crimes relating to sales/possession of marijuana. Wow. We have no money to fund education, and we have to cut the hell out of social security and other programs, but by all means–funnel all that we have available to get these “hardened criminals” off the street before they deplete the entire Publix bakery of all their goodies, since that is the ONLY thing they are liable to threaten while high on pot. Good job.

    No, the main reason for keeping this off the market, is that it will hurt the beer/beverage distributors–whose lobbyists contribute many dollars to make sure things like this aren’t approved. Do you really believe that outlawing this will keep it out of the hands of underage kids? Nope. They will be the ones that are smuggling it into your towns, schools, and events. The same ones that keep on smuggling in the nasty (and dangerous) synthetic pot–K2 or whatever–are going to be the same ones that are dealing in this stuff. You have now created a market for them, and no way to regulate it. And you have made it the coveted possession of high school-age kids.

    This is the worse action that could have possibly been taken on this… By passing this legislation, you WILL be making this product’s only use an ILLEGAL one–and it will be used in that manner. Had you taken the time to think it through and regulate instead, you could conduct research AND collect revenue. For example, make all purchasers of the product log into a database in the same manner that narcotics are currently being entered by healthcare providers and pharmacies–that way you can verify age-limits on the purchaser, purchase history to see if it is in keeping with someone who is using it recreationally or trying to distribute the product, not to mention track usage should any adverse effects start to be reported by those that are engaging in its use. How has this escaped you, yet you are charged with making laws to govern our country’s people? Wow. And you wonder why our faith in our “fearless leaders” is always waning. It’s dumbassery like THIS, right here.

    • Chuck says:

      Any way I could talk you into running for office? You just make way to much sense not to have a hand in shaping policy!

    • Nancy N. says:

      “The only thing you are accomplishing by keeping it illegal, is now you are designating a greater portion of your tax dollars to fund jails/prisons that are currently overcrowded with people that are incarcerated for crimes relating to sales/possession of marijuana.”

      Oh no, you forgot the other thing being accomplished…keeping happy that huge voter block of law enforcement personnel who are a GOP bedrock, and also keeping happy all those private prison companies and the DOC’s contractors who make tons of money off of people being incarcerated, and who are buddies of Rick Scott and write huge campaign and lobbying checks.

      Legal marijuana is big business in the states that have taken that route – but illegal marijuana is huge business for different people in the states where it is still banned. Gov Scott knows what side his bread is buttered on.

  5. ryan says:

    The powdered alcohol can be very dangerous. this is like the bath salts thing and could be slipped into a drink without someone knowing. It’s one thing to make alcohol or pot illegal, which is ridiculous, but this is not good at all. I say that the media should name the companies who make the stuff, not do what they refused to do with the bath salts and gift the companies with anonymity.

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