Palcohol, alcoholic powders offering consumers a fast way to mix drinks on the go, will now be taxed and regulated in Colorado just like liquid alcohol, thanks to a new bill signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper at the end of March.
For over 100 years, state courts have looked to evidence of legislative intent in construing state law, which in Colorado is to help regulate the liquor industry for consumers in the Centennial State. The new law gives the state’s liquor enforcement division the authority to regulate powdered alcohol as it would any other spirit, barring minors from being able to purchase it, and making it available only in places authorized to sell alcohol.
The product in question, Palcohol, is a powder that comes in a small pouch, which, when added to water, becomes alcohol. It also comes in two varieties of cocktail, Powderita and Cosmopolitan.
Although the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau authorized its sale weeks earlier, at least five states have passed legislation prohibiting its sale prior to the approval. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost three dozen bills in 24 states were introduced in regards to the new form of alcohol.
Colorado was nearly one of these states, fearing that it would be easy to sneak into schools, restaurants, bars, and even sporting events. Detractors argued that one of Palcohol’s main selling points is its portability. Marketers, however, meant to show how it can be taken on long hikes, flights, or even to remote locations where it can be used as an antiseptic.
Rep. Joann Windholz, one of the legislators supporting the bill, said she was worried that the law would not make it all the way, and that Palcohol “could’ve gotten to Colorado without us having any control over where it was sold or who could buy it.”
Though she’s pleased with the outcome, she is actually opposed to the sale of Palcohol, and remains concerned that it could increase amounts of underage drinking.
Despite the legal setbacks, Lipsmark, the company that owns Palcohol, hopes to start selling it to brave-hearted consumers this summer.