LANSING, Mich. -- Palcohol, a powdered form of alcohol, was approved by the federal government for sale in early March. However, a Michigan lawmaker is seeking a ban on the product.
State Sen. Rick Jones said the ban would keep Palcohol from hitting the shelves in Michigan. It's expected to release this summer.
Jones said the powder will make it easier for minors to get their hands on alcohol, even in bars. "It's going to cause problems at bars, because 18- to 20-year-olds that go in with their friends who are of age will order a soda or a water, and they'll be able to drink with their buddies," Sen. Jones said.
However, Mark Phillips, president of Lipsmark LLC, the company that owns Palcohol, said the only difference between liquid alcohol and his product is the fact that his comes in a powder.
"All of the criticism is unfounded," Phillips said. "All these critics have never tasted it, seen it, handled it, touched it--it's just speculation, because it's powder."
While Sen. Jones claims the powder poses a high risk for abuse, Phillips argues that's the case for any substance.
"It's sold exactly the same way as alcohol," Phillips said. " I don't see why Sen. Jones isn't introducing a bill to ban liquid alcohol; what's the difference? There is no difference. I don't know why they're picking out powdered alcohol as being the issue."
Jones said the packaging appeals to minors. According to Palcohol's website, approved labels include 'Powderita' and 'Cosmopolitan.'
"If you have children that think it's like a Kool-Aid product, they may mix it and take it by mistake," Jones said. "I've read blogs on the internet where students wrote that they tried to snort it, they put it on their pizza, they've made all sorts of experiments with it."
Palcohol can only be legally purchased by persons over 21. It can also be purchased on the internet, but according to Phillips, only a person who's 21 and up can sign for the package.
Phillips said the powder, because it's lighter than bottles of alcohol, is easier on campers, backpackers, and those who want to travel.
"There are so many innovative uses for it that will save companies millions of dollars in their production costs and because it's so light it is a big difference in the shipping of it and really reduces the carbon footprint." Phillips said.
According to Sen. Jones, the Michigan License Beverage Association supports his bill.