Powdered alcohol causing controversy - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Powdered alcohol causing controversy

Palcohol causing controversy (Source: WOIO) Palcohol causing controversy (Source: WOIO)

A powder used to create cocktails when mixed with water is causing controversy.

It's called Palcohol, and not only are legislators trying to ban it in Ohio, but a prominent U.S. Senator is trying to get it banned nationwide.

Palcohol inventor Mark Phillips said he likes drinking after outdoor activities but did not like lugging bottles wherever he went.

"If there are any outdoor enthusiasts and they like biking, backpacking, kayaking, boating, anywhere where weight is an issue, having powdered alcohol is a lot lighter than liquid alcohol," Phillips said.

Four varieties won government approval: rum, vodka, cosmopolitan and "powderita" which is like a margarita.

"It'll be sold in stores and we're expecting it to be sold online also," said Phillips.

Some, including Senator Charles Schumer, want the product banned outright.

"This Palcohol can be the Kool-Aid for our kids. Drop one bag or many more in a glass of water, it's very easy to ingest a huge amount of alcohol quickly," Schumer said.

Critics also say powdered alcohol could be used to spike drinks or be snorted for a quicker buzz, but Phillips said that's not true.

"It really burns to snort it, really uncomfortable because it's alcohol, as it would be if you sniffed liquid vodka," he said.

Phillips said each vodka packet contains enough alcohol to fill only one shot glass.

"Why do we want big government telling us what we can drink and what we can't drink? We don't need a nanny government telling us what we can do," said Phillips.

"This is about the health of our kids, not about a nanny government. This stuff can be deadly. Young people will abuse it," Schumer said.

Phillips hopes to have it on shelves by summer.

Schumer is introducing federal legislation to stop the sale or possession of Palcohol, and said he feels as though he will have bipartisan support.

The Ohio House voted almost unanimously last month to ban the sale of the product. It's now going through the Senate.

Palcohol's creator says the fears are overblown, and that his opponents could use a good stiff drink.

Click here for more information on Palcohol and legislation:

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