South Carolina Senate Passes Ban on Powdered Alcohol
Although the federal government recently approved powdered alcohol – brand name Palcohol – to go on sale this summer in numerous locations, a few states, including South Carolina, have already passed bans on the substance, claiming that it is simply too dangerous to sell. If a store is caught selling powdered alcohol, the store could lose its alcohol beverage license, or face fines if it never had one.
South Carolina Senators approved the bill’s passage 37-4 on Thursday, March 12th. Before it becomes law, it must go through one more procedural vote in the Senate before heading to the House.
Half the states in the US are considering similar bans. Although powdered alcohol claims it is approximately one shot of alcohol per packet, and should be mixed with water, many legislators and opponents believe that the powdered form could be too easily abused. The powder has no taste or odor, according to the South Carolina bill’s sponsor Larry Martin, who argues that the drug can be put in food or drinks and could not only be easier to hide from law enforcement officers – skirting open container laws in vehicles during DUI arrests, for example – but could also become a type of date rape drug. He added that some users could even snort the substance if they wished.
Spokesman Tom Hogue for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which approved powdered alcohol for sale earlier this week, said that potential for abuse is no reason not to approve a product. He said that the regulatory agency often reaches out to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for advice on products, which could potentially be “adulterated.” If the FDA says the product is not adulterated, then it can be approved for safe use according to specific guidelines, which Palcohol’s manufacturer has outlined.
“If used as intended, it’s as safe as alcohol,” Frank Lovecchio, the co-medical director of the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center. However, he added: “It’s very easy to put a couple packets into a glass and have super-concentrated alcohol.”
“People unfortunately use alcohol irresponsibly. But I don’t see any movement to ban liquid alcohol. You don’t ban something because a few irresponsible people use it improperly,” said Palcohol creator Mark Phillips.
If the ban on powdered alcohol does not pass the House vote in South Carolina, Palcohol can go on sale through some retailers in the state this summer. These retailers must have an appropriate alcohol beverage license or risk facing fines.
The Strom Law Firm Helps Apply For and Defend Alcohol Beverage Licenses
If you are a retailer in the state of South Carolina, and you want to sell alcohol, you must apply for an alcohol beverage license. Even if you wish to supply alcohol for a one-time event, it is important to go through the proper legal channels to ensure you will not face steep fines or jail time for illegal sales.
Whether your SC ABL issue involves:
- Denial of a SC ABL request;
- Failure to timely renew a SC ABL;
- Issuance of a dishonored check;
- Serving underage patrons;
- Staying open after hours or beyond permitted law;
- Improper payment of excise tax, or
- An appeal of the revocation of your SC ABL,
The alcohol beverage license attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations to discuss your alcohol beverage license application or denial, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.