Alcohol

Don't Ban Powdered Alcohol

There's no real public safety concern to justify blocking Palcohol.

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Palcohol

Last year the federal government's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) gave its approval to the maker of Palcohol, a powdered alcohol product, to market its just-add-water mix.

The agency quickly backtracked, and the approval was "surrendered," to use TTB parlance.

Now the product is back—TTB approved it last month—and set to come to market. It'll come in flavors like rum, margarita, and cosmopolitan.

One of the chief concerns with Palcohol is that young people will snort it. This is impractical. The good people at Vice know this to be true, thanks to one staffer's attempt to do so, which resulted in "the powder turn[ing] straight into glue when it hit [his] sinuses."

The company's founder cautions against snorting the product—though an earlier iteration of the company's website noted one could (but shouldn't) do so—and says you won't get drunk faster from doing so.

Still, that's not enough for Palcohol opponents.

"As with anything 'new,' this product may be attractive to youth," wrote Mothers Against Drunk Driving in a blog post last year after the product was initially approved.

A handful of states and some in Congress aren't happy the product will come to market. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has introduced legislation to ban it nationwide. Schumer warns Palcohol could become "the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking."

Six states have already banned Palcohol. Other states have considered doing the same.

"The potential for abuse outweighs quite heavily the need for that type of product," said Wisconsin State Sen. Tim Carpenter, who sponsored a bill to ban Palcohol in his state. "It would just make life a lot less complicated if we just didn't go there." Sen. Carpenter, coincidentally, represents Milwaukee, a city known for brewing liquid alcohol products, its baseball team dubbed the Brewers in celebration of that fact.

The problems with banning "new" types of drinks because we don't "need' them and they might make life more "complicated" are legion. A central tenet of food freedom is that adults have a right to consume most any food or drink they want. What's more, life may already be more complicated than lawmakers realize. Frozen and vapor alcohol already exist.

Liquid alcohol isn't always consumed orally. It can be ingested via enemas, poured into one's eye socket, and even, yes, snorted. To me, sensible warnings like "Don't put alcoholic beverages up your butt" is the best way to approach those who consider snorting Palcohol.

I'm teaching a class at American University this semester called The Drinking Age. Our discussion of campus alcohol policies has included frank discussion of the very real dangers of binge drinking, along with parsing a federal government definition of binge drinking—absurdly low, in my opinion—as "a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08."

We've also focused on state and federal alcohol laws. For class this week, we visited the U.S. National Archives to check out The Spirited Republic, a great new exhibit on the history of alcohol regulation in this country. The exhibit was a stark reminder alcohol regulation in America hasn't always gone so well. When it's too strict and puritanical, as in the case of Prohibition, the unintended consequences far outweigh the benefits.

That's a point that Palcohol makes as it fights back against state and federal lawmakers. The word "ban" appears fourteen times on the company's website homepage alongside arguments against doing so, part of an effort to ensure more states don't make the mistake of grounding the product before it ever takes off.

"Listen, people can snort black pepper….so do we ban it?" the Palcohol website asks. "No, just because a few goofballs use a product irresponsibly doesn't mean you ban it."

Palcohol makers are also touting the product's benefits. For example, it can help reduce waste and transport costs by eliminating heavy, bulky packaging.

Do we "need" Palcohol? That's a question consumers should answer with their dollars. One thing I know we don't "need" is another senseless food ban.

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76 responses to “Don't Ban Powdered Alcohol

  1. Do we “need” Palcohol?

    Do we “need” Chuck Schumer?

    1. Look, you heard the moob. Kids might start binge drinking if we have powdered alcohol. Teens have never been known to binge drink, so why risk it? Why do you hat children Ted?

      1. I used to binge drink when I was a kid.

        Of course now that im a seasoned drinker, I consume about 4x in a casual evening than I did when I binge drank at an early age (18-19). And I’m markedly less drunk now with a higher level of booze ingested.

        Abolish drinking age laws or,at least let states set their own ages without penalizing them by taking federal highway funds. The market will decide where the number would be in short order as states weigh the risk/reward of reducing the drinking age. And in all likelihood, the results would be the same as the results from ending prohibition in Colorado for pot: more tax money in…no increase in accidents or injuries. That’s what sane people from the two major political parties refer to as a “win-win”.*

        *i would too except for the increased tax money fueling the beast.

        1. My personal best was 0.61, at least that’s what they told me when I woke up in jail.

          1. I would assume anyone with opinions like that would have similar metrics…of course my BA hardly ever exceeds the legal limit.

            Guess what my opinion is?

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  2. I do not what “Chuck the *uck” thinks. I can make my own.

    http://www.popsci.com/article/…..booze-home

  3. Want to reduce teen binge drinking? Lower the drinking age, so they don’t have to kill the bottle to get rid of the evidence.

    I’ve always felt that raising the drinking age to 21 was one of the most idiotic examples of nannyism I’d seen. So, at 18 they can be drafted, they can get married without anybody’s say so, they can enter into legal contracts that will impoverish them for life, and they can vote, but they mustn’t DRINK for three more years.

    And we expect teens to respect that.

    It’s time we killed MADD with a stick.

    1. The legal drinking age in parts of Europe and Asia (where they drink out of their minds) is around 18-19. Alcoholism is a serious problem in places like Korea and Japan, and many of their shady establishments don’t enforce age verification. When I was growing up in Korea it was more or less legal for little kids to fetch cigs and bottles of soju for their dads at the grocery stores.

      If you want teens to stop drinking, they need to see alcoholics waste away their lives. It’s a frightening thing to see, to be honest. I think Americans mostly think drunk driving or domestic violence as consequences of alcoholism, but it goes deeper than that.

      1. And it’s still none of the government’s business.

    2. Ah, but let a kid commit a crime and see how quickly a 13 year old can be, “tried as an adult.”

  4. Chuck Schumer needs to be asked if he’s pro-choice. He needs to be pressed on personal liberty and asked where he draws the line on what people get to do with their own bodies.

    It’s time puritans like him are taken behind the woodshed and exposed for the frauds they are when it comes to being “liberals”. They’re not liberal, they’ve never been liberal and they never will be liberals. They are moral,scolds in ways that far exceed limits the most ardent SoCons would like to impose. And if the young of America woke up, they’d realize filth like him are much more common on the left than they are on the right. But they won’t, because free shit and shit.

    1. As an alternative, he could be taken behind a barn and beaten with a burlap sack full of horseshoes. I’d personally be ok with either.

      1. So much for the NAP, I guess.

        1. Is defending your rights with force from someone that is vocal in their desire to take them away?

          Or, you know, can you recognize an absurdity when you see it?

          1. Is defending your rights with force from someone that is vocal in their desire to take them away?

            So physical violence is justified against any vocal non-libertarian?

            1. Apparently sarcasm isn’t either.

        2. Well, good morning Tulpa. Nice new handle ya got there. What’s the matter, people won’t play with you if they know who you really are? I can’t imagine why.

      2. Tie him to a jeep bumper naked and drive through a giant patch of jumping cactus.

    2. He’d respond that he’s not talking about adults, he’s talking about the dangers of minors consuming it.

      Schumer is a slippery mofo. You’re not going to beat him by debating, he knows all the tricks and appeals to emotion.

      1. Anybody could defeat him by debating. That’s why he never debates but speaks only to the media at times of his choosing and in a manner he determines.

        When was the last time someone in the media asked him a pointed question on a serious issue and demanded a real answer instead of slippery catch-phrases and bullshit? I’m not sure, but I’d be willing to bet it’s been much more than a decade ago.

        1. That’s why he never debates but speaks only to the media at times of his choosing and in a manner he determines.

          So does Rand Paul. No politician with a lick of sense is going to get in a public debate with a random person when all it takes is an out of context sound bite and you’re finished.

          Slippery catch phrases and bullshit are what wins elections these days. Analyze and adapt.

          1. So does Rand Paul

            You’ve been asleep the past few days, I presume.

        2. You’re falling into the same fallacy as that dolt Ted Cruz — that you win politically by winning rational arguments. No way. You must learn the riddle of steel.

          It wasn’t well-researched studies showing the pernicious effects of Obamacare that fueled effective opposition and managed to get the worst parts thrown out and nearly keep it from passing, it was Sarah Palin screaming about “death panels” and seniors waving “Get your government hands off my Medicare” signs.

          1. Citation needed

    3. Chuck schumer nneds to be horsewhipped,,tarred and feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail. Probably won’t happen, but that’s what is NEEDED.

      1. Naah. Rails ain’t cheap.

        1. Splintery wooden fence rails.

  5. “As with anything ‘new,’ this product may be attractive to youth,” wrote Mothers Against Drunk Driving

    Ban New York.

  6. Sen. Carpenter, coincidentally, represents Milwaukee, a city known for brewing liquid alcohol products, its baseball team dubbed the Brewers in celebration of that fact.

    I seriously doubt Palcohol is going to be competing with Miller Lite.

    Someone’s going to pack their rectum full of it and die, and that will be the end of Palcohol.

    1. I seriously doubt Palcohol is going to be competing with Miller Lite.

      However, I imagine mixing Palcohol, caffeine powder, and Benefiber into Miller Lite would make a great breakfast of champions.

      1. My tastebuds cringe at the thought!

      2. Projectile vomiting champions, maybe.

  7. Our discussion of campus alcohol policies has included frank discussion of the very real dangers of binge drinking

    What about the very real dangers of skiing, scuba diving, biking, or trampolining? There’s no difference between any of these things and drinking. They’re all enjoyable. They all carry risk. In fact, I personally know a lot more people who’ve suffered serious injuries from skiing, scuba diving, biking, or trampolining than from drinking, even though I know more people who binge drink than all of the other four combined.

    Binge drinking is not especially dangerous, and it’s silly that we have to accept that as an article of faith before arguing against alcohol laws.

    1. You know people who trampoline? So, are you a hipster or are you ten?

      1. Your Amerocentrism is showing. Trampoline is an Olympic sport. The rest of the world knows what’s up.

        1. Trampoline is an Olympic sport.

          That doesn’t make it right!

      2. I remember a TV ad for Schaefer featuring a champion trampolining in my school gym.

    2. I can’t be both?

      1. Only if you’re ten ironically because you were born on February 29th and are actually between 40 and 43.

    3. What about the very real dangers of skiing, scuba diving, biking, or trampolining?

      Those are sports, and we’ve determined those risks/rewards are acceptable for you. Alcohol is inherently baaaaaaaad, with no inherent value or socially acceptable reward. It is known to cause date rape, pregnancy, undesirable behavior and is absolutely proven to be despised by Jesus Christ our lord and savior. We’ll decide what’s appropriate for you, just sit back and trust us.

      /Anyone NOT a libertarian

      1. It… is absolutely proven to be despised by Jesus Christ our lord and savior.

        Oh, you mean the guy whose first miracle was turning water into wine?

        1. IT WASN’T WINE…IT WAS GRAPE JUICE!

          You must be one of those blasphemous, heathen Catholics! Next thing you’ll be saying is that Jesus was a dancer.

          /Baptist

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  9. Here is what drives me crazy. I was telling a friend of mine that if you stuck your finger in a bottle of AEROGEL pellets for a set period of time you would end up with a desiccation burn. Her response, “That looks like something that should be banned.”

    GAH !!!

    1. Is your friend blonde?

      1. No, but I can see why you would think so.

        1. I don’t think she is blonde because she is a retard. That is retarded

          The woman is dumb because she doesn’t want to manage a world that requires having a working brain-banning things she doesn’t understand (what about cooking food?)

    2. So, a lightweight portable AEROGEL love doll isn’t a good idea, right?

  10. Can I keep these bags closed next to an open water bottle in my car’s front cup holder?

  11. There are lots of liquor-filled candies that can be bought by people of any age which probably would contain more alcohol than the powdered stuff. Powdered alcohol has been around for a long time and never has been that successful – it doesn’t make a very strong drink and I really don’t see the attraction of a powder mix with alcohol over mix powder without – it could only interest people who want margaritas but are too lazy to unscrew a bottle of tequila.
    I’ve had Japanese ‘instant’ sake, which has been more successful, since it’s an easy way to get the sake to the desired ‘atsukan’ (just above normal body temperature) warmth by adding warm water.

    1. Can you snort it?

      1. This. It’ll be an instant hit with train hoppers.

      2. No shit..seems like a primary market to me

  12. “The potential for abuse outweighs quite heavily the need for that type of product,” said Wisconsin State Sen. Tim Carpenter, who sponsored a bill to ban Palcohol in his state. “It would just make life a lot less complicated if we just didn’t go there.” Sen. Carpenter

    The same applies to the government.

    1. It would just make life a lot less complicated

      I’m with you, skater boy.

    2. LOL..so I can vote that my alcoholic neighbor be replaced?

      But ya…they should be banned from receiving anything from anyone ever and expected to live entirely off of the fixed government income for their lives..That way we know they didn’t sell out to private interests.

  13. They need to ban liquid alcohol because I can stop giving myself vodka enemas.

    1. *can’t

  14. Oh holy Jesus, the streets will be littered with the corpses of dead children if Palcohol hits the stores

  15. What we *really* need is an instant sobering-up pill, so you can get plastered at the bar and then recover all your faculties, so you can drive and avoid hangovers.

  16. You must know what the real ‘problem’ with Palcohol is: it’s easy to smuggle and could damage the state’s ability to tax and control liquor consumption and distribution respectively. State-bans are hopeless it can and will still be smuggled from jurisdictions that don’t ban it.

    I have heard that graphene could make small-scale in-house distillation possible. Could we make our own Palcohol in the future?

    1. Could we make our own Palcohol in the future?

      Perhaps with a 3D printer?

      1. A chemistry printer/graphene.

        http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/chemi…..ch-1492170

      2. “Could we make our own Palcohol in the future?”

        Yes with Tapioca Maltodextrin, and a good drying agent.

    2. Its pretty easy just to ask the IRS what kind of receipts they are writing…otherwise, the IRS will handle the tax evasion granted we ever get a tax code that is actually enforceable. There is no point to collecting taxes on poor people, the IRS can only effectively tax the rich :(, but that would have to be precluded by not allowing favoritism in the government.

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  18. How much moob could the dude Chuck suck if the booze tube’s stuck in the dude Chuck’s butt?

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  20. I can buy 200 proof ethanol..Still barely elicits my attention

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