During a House Commerce and Gaming Committee hearing Thursday, Rep. Jeff Holy successfully attached an amendment to a bill in order to ban powdered alcohol in Washington state.
Senate Bill 5292, as passed the Senate unanimously, would add powdered alcohol to the list of liquors and spirits to be regulated by the state. Holy, a former police officer, was concerned about the increase in access and abuse of alcohol that could occur and proposed an amendment to ban the powdered form of alcohol altogether.
“Proponents say this is about convenience, but anytime you legitimize increased distribution, you increase access. I’m concerned about the additional potential for abuse of this by youth and worry that people will not be able to moderate their intake of alcohol in this way,” said Holy, R-Cheney. “Powdered alcohol is purely about getting intoxicated, not about enjoying a specialized liquor. Furthermore, it increases access to alcohol and the ability to sneak it into places we already have enough trouble enforcing alcohol laws – sports stadiums and college campuses. Banning this is the right thing to do, but it also makes practical sense.”
“A primary prevention goal for this session is banning powdered alcohol,” said Seth Dawson, who lobbies on behalf of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse Prevention. “For one thing, we already have our hands full trying to regulate liquid alcohol and now marijuana in terms of prevention youth access and use. For another, opening a whole new front in the form of powdered alcohol would be unduly dangerous. Kids can easily snort this substance, mix it with energy drinks and other things in highly concentrated form, smuggle it into concerts and sporting events, and otherwise abuse alcohol in this manner without being easily detected. Trying to regulate this product is not the solution, banning it altogether is the solution.”
The amendment to ban powdered alcohol was adopted unanimously by the House Commerce and Gaming Committee. The ban does not apply to research and development, bio-tech companies or pharmaceutical research in order to allow for continued development of the product.
The amended bill now goes to the House Rules Committee to be placed on the House floor calendar for a vote by the full House.