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2/10/2016 Senate passes Lombardo bill outlawing powdered alcohol
STATE HOUSE – The Rhode Island Senate today passed legislation to prohibit the use and sale of powdered alcohol in the state.  Sponsored by Sen. Frank Lombardo III, the legislation will prohibit the use, purchase or sale of the powdered alcohol in the state, excluding bona fide research purposes. Violators would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

Powdered alcohol is molecularly encapsulated alcohol which, when mixed with water, produces an alcoholic beverage. A product called “Palcohol” – which had received initial approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in 2014 only to have it rescinded – was officially approved earlier in the year by a federal regulator.        

“My primary concern about this product, when it becomes available, is about its safety and the potential for abuse,” said Senator Lombardo (D-Dist. 25, Johnston). “Also, because alcohol laws in general apply to liquids, powder-based beverages could technically be sold to minors and these powders would be exempt from alcohol tax and laws.”

In the interim, a number of states have taken up legislation to regulate or ban the substance. 27 states now have laws in place prohibiting the product before it hits store shelves.

The legislation (2016-S 2059) defines powdered alcohol as “alcohol prepared for sale or other distribution in a dry power or crystalline or encapsulated form for direct consumption of reconstitution.” In addition to the powdered form that is mixed with water, the substance may also appear in capsule form for oral ingestion or for use with a nebulizer (a delivery devise used to administer the substance in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs).  

“Underage drinking is at an all-time high and this product plainly targets the youth of our state.  There is no room for this product that is dangerous to our children in Rhode Island,” added Senator Lombardo.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903