Even though a federal regulatory agency approved a form of powdered alcohol this week, that doesn’t mean the substance is legal in Massachusetts. In fact, manufacturing, buying or selling it is definitely prohibited.
The decision comes by way of a technicality. Since the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission defines an alcoholic beverage as being in liquid form, powdered alcohol doesn’t fit the criteria.
Powdered alcohol (also known as Palcohol) is the latest craze in getting buzzed. Simply mix six ounces of water with the powdery substance, and voila – an immediate cocktail. The concoction is the center of a hot debate in the United States, with critics saying it represents a dangerous slippery slope. (It is conceivably easier, after all, for teens to sneak around with a baggie of powder as opposed to a six-pack.)
Palcohol’s specialty flavors include Powderita and Cosmopolitan. Pouches are also available in Puerto Rican Rum and classic Vodka. The product was initially approved last year, but it was eventually revoked following concerns related to improper labeling.
According to Palcohol’s website, each individual powder packet contains the same amount of alcohol as one standard drink. The site also says that the product will be available to buy beginning this summer. Fears of potential abuse are causing a stir nationwide.
"The sale of powdered alcohol is prohibited in Massachusetts, and for good reason," state Treasurer Deb Goldberg told the Associated Press. Goldberg’s office oversees the ABCC. "Our first priority is to protect the health and safety of our residents, especially children."
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has been an outspoken opponent of powdered alcohol.
“I am in total disbelief that our federal government has approved such an obviously dangerous product, and so, Congress must take matters into its own hands and make powdered alcohol illegal,” Schumer said in a statement. “Underage alcohol abuse is a growing epidemic with tragic consequences and powdered alcohol could exacerbate this.”