Powdered Alcohol 2016 Legislation

Heather Morton 5/11/2017

Alcoholic beverages may soon be available in powdered form or in capsules.

In April 2014, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved labels for a product called Palcohol that can be added to water to make an alcoholic beverage.

Powdered Alcohol

The makers of Palcohol, who sought federal approval to market it, say their freeze-dried vodka, rum, “powderitas” and other drinks will appeal to backpackers and others who want a lightweight, more portable form of liquor.

Within two weeks of approving the labels, the TTB issued a statement that the label approvals were issued in error. In March 2015, the TTB approved the revised labels for Palcohol, allowing the product to be sold legally in the United States, unless otherwise prohibited.

Before the 2014 legislative session, two states had existing statutes that would affect any powdered alcohol products. Alaska §04.16.110, enacted in 1995, prohibits the sale of powdered alcoholic beverages for human consumption:

A person may not sell an alcoholic beverage if it

(1) Is intended for human consumption and is in powdered form; or

(2) Contains more than 76 percent alcohol by volume.

Delaware tit. 4, §101, amended in the 1985-1986 legislative session, includes powders in the definition of a concentrated alcoholic beverage, so that powders and crystals are regulated under the existing alcohol statutes:

"Concentrated alcoholic beverage" shall mean any powders or crystals, liquid or any other substances which, after being mixed with sugar, water or any other nonalcoholic materials, ferments or otherwise becomes a wine, beer or other alcoholic beverage.

Separate from the statutory activity in Alaska and Delaware, California adopted Alcohol Beverage Control Regulation 2557 that specifies that powdered alcohol will be taxed the same as regular alcohol. The regulation was adopted in 1978.

In 2014, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont joined Alaska by enacting legislation prohibiting the sale of powdered alcohol. Similar to Delaware's definition statute, Michigan enacted legislation that includes powder containing 0.5 percent or more of alcohol by volume in the definition of "alcoholic liquor."

Forty bills in 16 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were pending in the 2016 legislative session.

powdered alcohol 50 state map

Thirty-four jurisdictions have banned powdered alcohol. Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia statutorily prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol. Maryland’s ban is a temporary two-year statutory ban. Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico have included powdered alcohol in their statutory definitions of alcohol so that the product can be regulated under their existing alcohol statutes.

Powdered Alcohol 2016 Legislation
State: Bill Number: Bill Summary:
Alabama None  
Alaska None  
Arizona None  
Arkansas None  
California

A.B. 1554

Signed by governor 9/28/16, Chapter 742

This bill prohibits the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control from issuing a license to manufacture, distribute, or sell powdered alcohol, as defined. This bill prohibits the possession, purchase, sale, offer for sale, distribution, manufacture, or use of powdered alcohol and makes the specified violation of these provisions punishable as an infraction.

California

S.B. 819

Signed by governor 9/28/16, Chapter 778

This bill requires the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to revoke the license of any licensee who manufactures, distributes, or sells powdered alcohol, as provided. This bill prohibits the possession, purchase, sale, offer for sale, distribution, manufacture, or use of powdered alcohol and makes the specified violation of these provisions punishable as an infraction.

Colorado

S.B. 206

Postponed indefinitely 5/6/16

The bill repeals the rule-making authority granted by 2015 H.B. 1031 and instead prohibits the use, possession, sale, purchase, transfer, or manufacture of powdered alcohol. The bill also specifies that a person who violates the prohibition commits a class 2 misdemeanor. Research hospitals, educational institutions, and pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies conducting bona fide research are excluded from the prohibition.
Connecticut None  
Delaware None  
District of Colubmia B21-151 Amends Title 25 of the District of Columbia Official Code to prohibit the sale of powdered, alcoholic beverages for consumption or use with any combination with water or any other substance.
District of Columbia B21-253 Amends Title 25 of the District of Columbia Official Code to clarify that a limited liability company can apply for a club license, to amend the definition of growler to include wine, to allow full-service grocery stores to sell growlers of wine, to reduce the length of time a club must be incorporated or formed prior to filing an application from one year to three months, to require a tavern with an entertainment endorsement to have a security plan, to require the holder of a club license to obtain an entertainment endorsement to be eligible to have entertainment, a cover charge, or offer facilities for dancing, to clarify that a licensee holding two or more brew pub permits in the District can transport beer manufactured at one brew pub facility to another brew pub facility owned by the same licensee for sale and consumption, to clarify the process regarding the licensee's failure to timely pay the annual or renewal fee, to require on-duty security staff working at nightclubs to wear clothing that clearly identifies them as security during those hours of operation that the establishment is open to the public, to clarify that a licensee is not permitted to exceed its board-approved capacity, to clarify that the alcoholic beverage sale and delivery hours for class B full-service grocery stores are identical to the hours for other class B retailers, to clarify those functions and responsibilities of an on-premises retailer's license that are not permitted to be performed by a promoter, to clarify that a pub crawl organizer is eligible to participate in the reimbursable detail subsidy program, to clarify that it is a primary tier violation to tamper with or refill alcoholic beverage bottles or containers, to define powdered alcohol, and to prohibit the possession, use, and sale of powdered alcohol products.
District of Columbia

B21-849

Passed Congressional Review Period 4/7/17, Law 260

Provides for the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2016; provides that a limited liability company or partnership can apply for a club license; provides that a growler may include wine; relates to a full-service grocery store, bed and breakfast licenses, powdered alcohol, military identification as valid identification, brew pubs, tasting permits, manufacturer permits for on-site sales, farmer's markets, Internet sales, litter prevention and penalties for violations.

Florida

H.B. 1107

Died in committee 3/11/16

Prohibits sale, offer for sale, purchase, use, offer for use, or possession of powdered alcohol; provides exemption for use of powdered alcohol by specified entities for research purposes; provides exemption for possession of powdered alcohol solely for purpose of transportation through this state by specified entities.

Florida

S.B. 392

Died in committee 3/11/16

Defines the term “powdered alcohol”; prohibits the sale, offer for sale, purchase, use, offer for use, or possession of powdered alcohol; provides penalties; provides an exemption for the use of powdered alcohol by specified entities for research purposes; provides an exemption for the possession of powdered alcohol solely for the purpose of transportation through this state by specified entities, etc.
Georgia None  
Guam Not available  
Hawaii None  
Idaho

H.B. 331

Signed by governor 3/30/16, Chapter 277

Amends existing law to define "powdered alcohol," to prohibit the possession, use, sale or purchase of powdered alcohol and to provide for the revocation of liquor licenses held by violators.
Illinois None  
Indiana None  
Iowa

None

 
Kansas None  
Kentucky H.B. 43 Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 244 to prohibit powdered or crystalline alcoholic beverage products; amends KRS 241.010 to include powdered or crystalline alcohol in the definition of an alcoholic beverage.
Kentucky

S.B. 11

Signed by governor 4/9/16, Act 80

Defines bed and breakfast, commercial quadricycle, and discount in the usual course of business; expands the definition of alcoholic beverage to include a powder or crystal containing alcohol; increases the annual production limit for small farm wineries; makes a souvenir package a special package of distilled spirits; allows a precinct-level local option election to authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages at a distillery.
Louisiana None  
Maine None  
Maryland

H.B. 749

Passed House 3/18/16

Prohibits a person from selling or offering to sell alcoholic beverages that are sold in a powder or crystalline form for direct use or use in combination with water or any other substance; and provides a maximum fine of $1,000 for violation of the Act.

Maryland

S.B. 587

Signed by governor 5/19/16, Chapter 564

Prohibits a person from selling or offering to sell alcoholic beverages that are sold in a powder or crystalline form for direct use or use in combination with water or any other substance; and provides a penalty of a maximum fine of $1,000 for violation of the Act.
Massachusetts H.B. 243

Relates to the sale, delivery, receipt or purchase for resale of powdered alcoholic products.

Massachusetts

H.B. 4056

Signed by governor 3/14/16, Chapter 52

Relates to substance abuse; relates to courses established by the municipal police training academy, publication of a list of non-opioid drug products that are effective in pain management, provision of certain information to patients, reports by hospitals on the exposure of children to controlled substances, driver education, requirements of schools, pharmacist and practitioner requirements, a drug stewardship program, powdered alcohol, addiction treatment centers, insurance coverage and other matters. Provides that no person shall sell, offer for sale, manufacture or possess powdered alcohol. Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000.
Massachusetts

H.B. 4483

For further action see H.B. 4569 7/31/16

Provides that no person shall sell, offer for sale, manufacture or possess powdered alcohol. Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000. Provides that this prohibition does not apply to (A) the use of powdered alcohol as an ingredient in non-powdered products or (B) the production of, sale, offering to sell, or delivery, receipt or purchasing for resale, powdered alcohol for the use as an ingredient in non-powdered products.

Massachusetts

H.B. 4569

Signed by governor 8/10/16 with line item veto, Chapter 219

Provides that no person shall sell, offer for sale, manufacture or possess powdered alcohol. Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000. Provides that this prohibition does not apply to (A) the use of powdered alcohol as an ingredient in non-powdered products or (B) the production of, sale, offering to sell, or delivery, receipt or purchasing for resale, powdered alcohol for the use as an ingredient in non-powdered products.

Massachusetts S.B. 173 Prohibits a person from using, possessing, selling, offering for sale or use, manufacturing with intent to sell, or exposing or keeping for sale, storing, transporting, importing or exporting powdered alcohol. Whoever violates this section shall be punished except by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Provides that the prohibition does not apply to the use of powdered alcohol for bona fide research purposes by a health care provider that operates primarily for the purpose of conducting scientific research; (2) state institution; (3) private college or university or (4) pharmaceutical or biotechnology company.
Massachusetts

S.B. 2022

Passed Senate 10/1/15

Defines powdered alcohol and provides that no person shall sell, offer for sale, manufacture or possess powdered alcohol. Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.
Massachusetts S.B. 2103

Relates to substance use, treatment, education and prevention, prohibits powdered alcohol.

Michigan None  
Minnesota

H.F. 2425

S.F. 2235

Relates to liquor; clarifies the definition of alcoholic beverage to include powdered alcohol.

Mississippi

H.B. 518

Died in committee 2/23/16

Amends §67-1-5 to revise the definition of the term "alcoholic beverage" under the local option alcoholic beverage control law to provide that the term does not include powdered alcohol; defines the term "powdered alcohol" under the local option alcoholic beverage control law; amends §§67-1-9 and 67-1-17 to provide that powdered alcohol is prohibited in this state and may not lawfully be manufactured, mixed, processed, sold, possessed, imported into the state, exported from the state, transported, distributed, warehoused or stored in this state, and that powdered alcohol is subject to seizure by the department of revenue and forfeiture; amend §§67-1-18, 67-1-72, 67-1-93, 67-1-95, 67-1-97 and 67-1-99, in conformity thereto; and for related purposes.

Missouri H.B. 1629 This bill specifies that the provisions regarding the sale of intoxicating liquor to a minor and the permitted drinking or possession of intoxicating liquor of a minor are to be known as Austin's Law. The bill changes the penalty for a person who knowingly allows a minor to drink or possess intoxicating liquor who is not the minor's parent or guardian from a class B misdemeanor to a class D felony for an offense committed before Jan. 1, 2017, and a class E felony for an offense committed on or after Jan. 1, 2017. The penalty for any subsequent violation is changed from a class A misdemeanor to a class C felony for an offense committed before Jan. 1, 2017, and a class D felony for any subsequent violation committed on or after Jan. 1, 2017. If an individual under the age of 21 injures or kills another person while intoxicated, the penalty is a class B felony. The bill exempts any business licensed to sell alcohol and his or her employee from the class B felony provisions of the bill. A person commits the offense of illegal possession of powdered alcohol if he or she purchases, possesses, offers for sale or use, uses, or sells powdered alcohol or ships any package or container that contains powdered alcohol into this state. Any person who violates this provision must be guilty of a class C misdemeanor. "Powdered alcohol" means alcohol that is prepared in a powdered, crystalline, or capsule form either for direct use or for reconstitution in a nonalcoholic liquid. These provisions do not apply to any hospital that operates primarily for the purpose of scientific research; any state institution or college or university conducting scientific research; or any pharmaceutical or biotechnology company conducting research. The provisions of the bill regarding powdered alcohol contain an emergency clause.
Missouri

H.B. 1786

Passed House 3/31/16

This bill defines "powdered alcohol" as alcohol that is prepared in a powdered, crystalline, or capsule form either for direct use or for reconstitution in a nonalcoholic liquid. The bill prohibits the sale or serving of powdered alcohol, and creates the offense of illegal possession of powdered alcohol, as specified in the bill. Anyone who violates these provisions is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.
Missouri S.B. 797

This act prohibits any person or business entity with a liquor license and their employees and agents from selling, offering, or serving any form of powdered alcohol. In addition, this act creates the Class C misdemeanor of illegal possession of powdered alcohol. Powdered alcohol is defined under this act.

Montana No regular session  
Nebraska None  
Nevada No regular session  
New Hampshire

S.B. 501

Passed Senate 3/10/16

Prohibits the possession of powdered or crystalline alcohol.

New Jersey None  
New Mexico None  
New York

A.B. 8292

Passed Assembly 3/14/16

Adds the word “beverage” to the prohibition against powdered alcohol.

North Carolina None  
North Dakota No regular session  
N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio None  
Oklahoma

None

 
Oregon None  
Pennsylvania H.B. 847 Provides that it shall be unlawful to possess, purchase, sell or use powdered or crystalline alcohol. This prohibition shall not apply to commercial or industrial use specifically approved by state law, a hospital that operates primarily for the purpose of conducting scientific research, a state institution conducting bona fide research, a private college or university conducting bona fide research or a pharmaceutical company conducting bona fide research.
Pennsylvania

H.B. 1690

Signed by governor 6/8/16, Act 39

Provides for powers of the Liquor Control Board, state liquor store sales, liquor, alcohol and malt and brewed beverage licenses, hotel, restaurant and club liquor licenses, wine option permits, importers' licenses, casino liquor licenses, a prohibition on interlocking business, establishment of an industry promotion board, veterans' organizations, local option, public records, wine shipment, transporters for hire, limited wineries and distilleries, wholesale and retail privatization and other matters. Provides that it is unlawful to possess or sell powdered alcohol and for any person to possess, purchase, sell, offer to sell or use powdered alcohol. This clause shall not apply to a hospital that operates primarily for the purpose of conducting scientific research, a state institution conducting bona fide research, a private college or university conducting bona fide research or a pharmaceutical company conducting bona fide research.

Pennsylvania S.B. 588 Provides that it is unlawful a person to possess or sell powdered alcohol. This provision shall not apply to a hospital that operates primarily for the purpose of conducting scientific research, a state institution conducting bona fide research, a private college or university conducting bona fide research or a pharmaceutical company conducting bona fide research.
Pennsylvania

S.B. 773

Passed Senate 9/18/15

Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in minors; provides for definition of powdered alcohol.

Puerto Rico

S.B. 1356

Passed Senate 1/19/16

Prohibits in the commonwealth the import, production, distribution, possession, sale and use of all alcohol product powder in order to protect public health by not accepting any other form that facilitates and encourages the consumption of alcohol by any citizen; recognizes the adverse health damage and social and collective well-being caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol.

Rhode Island

H.B. 7026

Signed by governor 4/19/16, Chapter 11

S.B. 2059

Signed by governor 4/19/16, Chapter 12

This bill makes the possession, purchase, or sale of powdered alcohol a crime punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.

South Carolina None  
South Dakota None  
Tennessee None  
Texas No regular session  
Utah None  
Vermont None  
Virginia None  
Virgin Islands Not available  
Washington None  
West Virginia

H.B. 4314

Signed by governor 3/24/16, Chapter 60

Amends and reenacts §60-1-5; amends and reenacts §60-3-11; amends and reenacts §60-6-7 and §60-6-8; and adds a new section, designated §61-10-33, all relating to prohibiting the sale of powdered or crystalline alcohol and pure caffeine products; defines terms; prohibits the commissioner from listing or stocking powdered alcohol in inventory; creates a criminal offense for anyone who manufactures or sells, aids or abets in the manufacture or sale of powdered alcohol, or possesses, uses or in any other manner provides or furnishes powdered alcohol; makes a second and subsequent offense a felony and providing for increased penalties; creates a  criminal offense for any licensee who sells, possesses, possesses for sale, furnishes or provides any powdered alcohol; makes a second and subsequent offense a felony and provides for increased penalties; creates a criminal offense for the sale and possession of pure caffeine products; defines relevant terms; provides exclusions; and provides penalties.
West Virginia H.B. 4720

Prohibits the sale and consumption of powdered alcohol; provides exceptions; and defines a term.

West Virginia S.B. 497

Amends and reenacts §60-1-5; amends and reenacts §60-3-11 of said code; and amends and reenacts §60-6-7 and §60‑6‑8 of said code, all relating to banning and providing for criminal penalties for the manufacture, possession, use, sale and furnishing of powdered alcohol; and defines a term.

Wisconsin

A.B. 72

Failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 1 4/13/16

Under this bill, a person may not sell or offer for sale powdered alcohol. The bill defines powdered alcohol as any substance that is sold in powder or crystalline form, that contains more than 0.4 percent alcohol by weight, and that is fit for human consumption either in its powder or crystalline form or after it is added to food or reconstituted with water or another liquid. There are exceptions under the bill, including for powdered alcohol, used for nonbeverage purposes, that is used by hospitals or for scientific research or other medicinal, pharmaceutical, or industrial purposes. A person who violates the prohibition must be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 90 days or both.

Wisconsin

S.B. 10

Failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 1 4/13/16

Under this bill, a person may not sell or offer for sale powdered alcohol. The bill defines powdered alcohol as any substance that is sold in powder or crystalline form, that contains more than 0.4 percent alcohol by weight, and that is fit for human consumption either in its powder or crystalline form or after it is added to food or reconstituted with water or another liquid. There are exceptions under the bill, including for powdered alcohol, used for nonbeverage purposes, that is used by hospitals or for scientific research or other medicinal, pharmaceutical, or industrial purposes. A person who violates the prohibition must be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 90 days or both.

Wyoming None  

 

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Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales, and medical malpractice issues for NCSL.

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