Powdered alcohol: to ban or not to ban?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Powdered alcohol could hit store shelves- that is if the state doesn't ban the product.

Powdered alcohol is exactly what it sounds like- it comes in a pouch and you pour it in your favorite drink, it dissolves and you drink it, which is the same as having one shot of liquor.

A powdered version of vodka, rum or four cocktails.  It's called "palcohol," and it's a product local liquor store owners say, would easily sell.

"Well first of all it would sell because everyone wants to try something when it's new and then, it's different, I guess you can mix it with water, soda, anything," says Wesley Cook, owner of an ABC Liquor store in Myrtle Beach.

One package weighs one ounce which makes it easy to travel with.  Local parents say they're worried the size makes it easier for kids to hide but the company that makes the product claims a package of palcohol is almost five times bigger than a mini bottle, which makes it harder to conceal.

"It's pretty much like anything else, I mean, a kid finds a bottle of booze, he can drink it," says Cook.

The company says it will be making a non-edible version as well; some ideas include an antiseptic for doctors or emergency fuel for drivers.

Either way, you need to of legal age to buy the product.

The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, approved the product but then decided the approval was a mistake, so don't expect to see the product anytime soon.

Lawmakers are discussing banning powdered alcohol in South Carolina.  The ban of moved forward in the state house, Thursday.  The next step is a discussion at a full committee next week.

"I don't see why they'd want to ban anything that they can make sales tax on, doesn't make sense to me at all, they're making money, why would they want to ban it," says Cook.

South Carolina lawmakers want to be clear, the main reason for the proposed ban is, there's still more to learn.  Senator Larry Martin says it has become more common to see products we've never seen before, enter our market, one of these, is palcohol.

Martin says we don't know enough about it to risk it ending up in the hands of your kids.  Since we're out of session, putting a ban in place would buy our state more time to learn about the product.

If this bill passes and you get caught with powdered alcohol you could be forced to pay a fine of three hundred dollars, up to 30 days in jail, or both, and that's only for the first time you get caught.  If passed, lawmakers will re-visit the bill next year.

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