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Missouri Rep. Patricia Pike, R-Adrian, proposed a bill that would tighten restrictions on powdered alcohol in Missouri.
"Over 30 states passed the legislation to ban powdered alcohol," she said in a April 11 House of Representatives debate on powdered alcohol.
A former school counselor, Pike said she noticed the issues of powdered alcohol. She said the product can be easy concealed and carried, possibly increasing underage drinking.
What is it, exactly? According to previous Missourian reporting, powdered alcohol resembles a packet of instant coffee or Kool-Aid once mixed with water or other liquids. The product name is Palcohol, marketed as "a powder version of vodka, rum and three cocktails....with the same alcoholic content."
Invented by five Dutch students in 2007, powdered alcohol was approved in April 2014 by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and in March 2015 by the federal government. The product is legal and unregulated in Missouri.
The House passed Pike’s bill House Bill 65, by a 142-4 votes on April 11, which would add powdered alcohol to the legal definition of "intoxicating liquor." On April 18, the bill was referred to the Senate General Laws Committee.
We decided to take a closer look at Pike’s statement that more than 30 states have banned the substance.
When we asked Pike about her claim, she said she was referring to 2017 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research group.
In 2017, 34 states and Washington, D.C., had banned powdered alcohol.
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, Powdered Alcohol 2017 Legislation
In 2015 when New York enacted its ban, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was concerned about the safety of the substance.
"This dangerous product is a public health disaster waiting to happen," Cuomo said according to the Washington Post. "I am proud to sign this legislation that will keep powdered alcohol off the shelves and out of the wrong hands."
Pike said 2017 was the last year the NCSL published powdered alcohol legislation.
We reached out to the NCSL to find out if they had more recent data.
Heather Morton, program principal in fiscal affairs, gave us the 2018 and 2019 legislation lists regarding powdered alcohol.
Two more states, Delaware and Oklahoma, banned powdered alcohol in 2018, she said. Colorado and New Mexico have included powdered alcohol in their statutory definitions of alcohol so that the product can be regulated under their existing alcohol statute. That’s how Pike’s measure would work in Missouri.
Pike said, "Over 30 states passed the legislation to ban powdered alcohol," and Missouri is not one of them.
The latest count shows Pike is safely in the right ballpark, with 36 states and Washington, D.C., cracking down on this substance.. We rate Pike’s statement True.
Interview, Patricia Pike, R-Adrian, April. 23, 2019.
Email Exchanged with Heather Morton, Program Principal in Fiscal Affairs, National Conference of State Legislatures, on April. 30, 2019.
Email Exchanged with Mick Bullock, Director of Public Affairs, National Conference of State Legislatures, on April. 30, 2019.
National Conference of State Legislatures, Powdered Alcohol 2017 Legislation, accessed on April. 14, 2019.
Columbia Missourian, House approves effort to tighten restrictions on powdered alcohol in Missouri, accessed on April. 18, 2019.
Washington Post, Yes, powdered alcohol is real. It’s already banned in New York and at least 20 other states, accessed on April. 18, 2019.
Alcohol.org, Powdered Alcohol: The Controversial Legalization of Powdered Alcohol, accessed on April. 30, 2019.
Palcohol, Palcohol is powdered alcohol, accessed on April. 30, 2019.
Reuters, Just add water - students invent alcohol powder, accessed on April. 30, 2019.
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