Palcohol: A Threat to Michigan Drivers?

Palcohol? You ask, what on earth is palcohol? Well, it’s powdered alcohol, hence the witty name. A dehydrated form of alcohol created by outdoorsman Mark Phillips, who wanted a light, easy to transport alcoholic beverage while hiking, biking and kayaking. But this just-add-water drink powder, which just won federal approval in March, is meeting stiff resistance in Michigan.

Two separate bills, both looking to ban palcohol sales in Michigan have been introduced in the past month. Senate Bill 0240, introduced by Senator Rick Jones, and House Bill 4416, introduced by Representative Scott Dianda.  Both have received wide bipartisan support.

According to the doctors, police departments and legislators uniting against palcohol here in Michigan, it is a dangerous product. The concern, it seems, is that it would be easier for underage drinkers to carry around with them, and also for people to use to spike drinks at the bar, making them super-potent.

At a recent press conference held in favor of palcohol bans, a number of officials spoke about their concerns. Dr. Brad Uren of the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians, along with Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops both shared their disdain for the product, and expressed fears that palcohol would open the door for abuse.

According to Representative Scott Dianda, the product would create “an intolerable public health risk” by putting more people at risk for alcohol abuse, many of whom he believes would be minors. In addition, many people have raised the issue of increased drunk driving incidents in addition to increased underage drinking.

Michigan is not the only state to have pushed for legislation to ban palcohol sales. In total, 71 bills have been filed nationwide, in 39 separate states, in an attempt to restrict or completely ban palcohol sales. Thus far, the product is already banned in Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. In Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico limitations have been placed that match those of traditional alcohol.

On May 20, the Michigan Senate unanimously passed Bill 0240.  On the House side, Bill 4416 has been referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform.  We’ll keep you updated as the legislation progresses.

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