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Michigan Liquor Law Blog

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No Palcohol For You! Michigan Senate to Vote on Powdered Alcohol Ban

This week, we expect the Senate to begin voting on SB 0240. This Bill, first introduced on March 26, 2015, would ban the use, possession, sale, or offer of sale of powdered alcohols. Given that the bill is co-sponsored by twenty-three members of the Senate, it is expected to pass by a wide margin. While the House has similar legislation in Committee, we expect the Senate’s version to make its way to the House floor first.

Powdered alcohol is an encapsulated form of ethanol that produces an alcoholic beverage once combined with water. Each package has the same alcohol content as one standard mixed drink and comes in several flavors. The directed method of consumption is to mix one package with six ounces of water to rehydrate the alcohol. As is often the case with attempts to create new (arguably “edgy”) forms of alcohol, powdered alcohol has swiftly become a topic for regulatory debate. In particular, opponents have voiced concerns over the alleged ease of possession (particularly minors) and consumption. Proponents, on the other hand, argue that the product is not inherently more dangerous than liquid alcohol and sales will be regulated in the same manner as all alcohol products.

Now, as the first federally approved powdered alcohol product comes closer to entering the market, the debate is reaching a climax. After a four year licensing process, “Palcohol” recently became the first powdered alcohol to receive federal approval for use and consumption by both the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Barring a ban of the product, Palcohol is expected to enter the Michigan market this summer.  Several states, including Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia have, however, passed legislative bans.

If Michigan opts to permit the sale and consumption of Palcohol, it would likely fall under the same statutes and rules that govern all sales of alcohol within the state. At the same time, however, none of Michigan’s existing legislation specifically refers to powdered alcohol. Therefore, if the legislature does not ban the product, we hope to see legislation amending the existing Liquor Control Code with references to powdered alcohol. Without such legislation, we would expect an initial period of confusion once the product entered the market.

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*This information and thoughts herein are provided by the Liquor Lawyers at Stariha & Brower, PLC.  As always, we remind readers that the materials on this site are provided purely for informational purposes and are not legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and current. This blog is not intended to be a source of legal advice. Therefore, the reader should not consider this information an invitation for an attorney-client relationship. Readers should always seek the advice of competent counsel.

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