New York Senate Passes Ban on Powdered Alcohol

Legislators seek to preemptively ban Palcohol citing concerns over underage abuse.


Politicians ban powdered alcohol for fear kids might snort it.
Wired / YouTube

On Monday, the New York state senate passed a bill that would ban the sale of powdered alcohol.

In March, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the product, known as "palcohol," for sale. Several states have already passed measures banning the sale of powdered alcohol products, and 39 jurisdictions, including New York, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, are trying to do the same

And it's not just state governments seeking to ban the powdered drink mix. Sen. Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) is pushing an "emergency amendment to legislation this week that would make it illegal to produce, sell or possess Palcohol," according to CBS New York.

According to the CBS piece, Schumer claimed alcohol in powdered form "can be used so much more dangerously than if it was a liquid."

Specifically, according to The Washington Post:

Some argue the powder will be easier to sneak into public events and spike people's drinks. Others worry that minors will get their hands on the product and abuse it by snorting it to get high.

Instead of taking the speculation for granted, Brent Rose over at Wired decided to do some empirical testing—on himself (see the full video below). What did he find?

After five minutes of stirring, small clumps of the powder were still visible in the drink he was trying to spike. Even if he'd gotten the powder to dissolve completely, the drink looked markedly different than his control sample. And even if a hypothetical would-be victim didn't notice the newly hazy appearance of her drink, the alcohol content would only have been boosted by the equivalent of a one-ounce shot.

So what about claims that kids will snort palcohol to get a stronger buzz? As Reason columnist Baylen Linnekin argued:

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."

Rose's results reiterated that finding, but with an important addition: "You'd have to do…30 [0.5 gram] lines to get half a shot of alcohol." It's hard to imagine even the most determined teenage miscreant snorting that quantity of a powder that "instantly burns" and quickly clogs the nostrils.

Practical considerations aside, banning a product because of fears that some kids will abuse it is overkill. Linnekin writes:

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.

At least one person has died from an alcohol enema (though it wasn't an underage kid—it was a 58-year-old man), but legislators are suspiciously silent on banning alcohol in liquid form.

NEXT: More Troops to Iraq, EPA Wants to Regulate Airplane Emissions, Wales Passes Ban on E-Cigarettes: P.M. Links

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  1. Schumer is looking into a total ban on using science to refute his assertions.

    1. Powdered alcohol causes global warming?

      1. I don’t know let me run a couple simulations on my computer…….
        why yes, yes it does my model shows it does.

        1. Excellent! Now, who should we make this grant check out to?

          1. Oh good! You’re giving me the grant. I was worried you might ask me for the dataset, I used.

            1. Pfft.. no, we don’t concern ourselves with all that shit anymore. Buuutt.. Please, do try and get *something* published in a university and/or research journal.. so we can keep our 401(c) status.. Whenever you get to it..

              1. Oh I’m making some stuff up… err collating my results right now.

                1. Hows this for a working title:

                  Concerning the Hygroscopic Propensity of Powdered Alcohol to Diminish the Percentage of Dihydrogen Monoxide in the Atmosphere Thereby Propagating Increasing Planetary Albedo and Enhanced Heat Retention.

              2. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,



    1. Eventually, New York will ban the children as well.

  3. To me, sensible warnings like “Don’t put alcoholic beverages up your butt” is the best way to approach those who consider snorting Palcohol.

    Sheesh, Baylen, do you think anybody who’s inclined to do such things is going to be aware of *any* warnings, “sensible” or not?

    1. “..”Don’t put alcoholic beverages up your butt” ..”

      Hey! What people do in the privacy of their own home..

  4. This country needs an enema.

  5. Smells like a lobbying effort. Now, can the alcohol and beer lobby spend some money in my state so I don’t have to plan ahead for Sunday drinking?

    Fun fact: the alcohol and beer industry is one of the top 5 donors to anti-weed-legalization efforts.

    1. Fun fact 2: one of the most aggressive (and secretive) groups behind anti-weed laws is the private prison industry. Put that in your free-market pipe. If only we made all prisons private…!

      1. Second only to prison guard (and police) unions..

        Prison industrial complex!

        1. The cops get federal grants for anti-weed efforts, so that of course would have to end. If people’s jobs depend on stuffing more and more citizens into prisons, well, it’s gonna have to be tough shit for them I guess, assuming we can put some kind of barrier between money-based special interests and government policy.

          1. Holder specifically cited job creation that resulted from opening up new prisons as a big positive.

            And now you recognize public sector unions as a special interest that unduly influences politics? Is that selective or in general?

            1. Sure I do. Anyone with enough money and power can unduly influence politics if there aren’t rules against it. Why not focus on the core problem?

              1. The core problem? You mean the overreaching power of government?

                So if we reduce the power and influence of politicians there will be no reason to buy them off. You make so much sense. What happened?

                1. Any political ideology that expects a large group of people to largely act against basic human nature (like politicians and bureaucrats) is doomed to failure. The Soviet Man isn’t coming. There are a list of ways to buy off politicians. The campaign finance laws the Tony’s champion didn’t prevent the campaign donations, anyway. They just made sure the money was funneled directly through the campaigns so politicians would have better control over the message that reached the public.

                2. “No reason to buy them off” = “you mean we get what we want for free?”

                  1. I love non-specific shit you throw against the wall and call an argument. Get what? There’s a libertarian response to just about regulation you think only government can handle, and you’ve seen most of them. If it hasn’t sunk it yet, it’s not going to. But you aren’t hear to engage in honest discussion.

                    They are free to compete against one another. They are free to hire and fire as they please, if they can. Labor has the right to organize without violent interference, and if said employees are valuable enough to where they can’t be replaced or they can get the right leverage, they can collectively bargain, even. They aren’t free to pollute the property of others because they are infringing on the property rights of others. I mean, none of this is shit that hasn’t been explained to you.

          2. Separating public sector unions from uncle sugar’s money is like separating stink from shit..

            1. My shit smells like rose petals.

              1. Powered alcohol comes in “rose petal” flavor?

            2. Exactly. Which is why the left’s whole canard that money in politics is the problem with the regulatory state is a pipedream. I mean, there’s like a dozen reasons why money won’t be taken out of the equation, but that one is right up there near the top at the local and state level.

      2. There are a large number of libertarians strongly opposed to privatization of prisons. Myself among them. Libertarians aren’t anarchists, and we are the ones who argue all the time that big business hates competition and thus uses the instruments of power that people like you claim protect consumers/little guys like us to eliminate it.

        1. But the real lesson here is that Democrats once again selectively decide when you own your body and when you don’t, just the same as the Republicans. Want to get a dozen abortions? A-OK with Tony and Schumer. Want to put alcohol up your ass (which, last I checked, doesn’t require a powder)? Why, that just can’t be allowed…

          The implication there is that its your body when the government gives its permission. Which is right in line with what the Tony’s of the world think. Rights come from government.

          1. Thank you for this. It stopped my reflexive Tony reply and you did it more cogently than I was willing or able to be.

          2. You won’t catch me defending Chuck Schumer especially or any Democrat generally who is a slimeball lobbyist puppet.

            1. How much was Obama charging for access to speak to him on his throne, again?

              Every politician you defend is a lobbyist puppet. Obama’s chief piece of legislation was largely written by lobbyists.

              1. But the libertarian solution boils down to letting the industries lobbyists represent to simply cut out the middleman known as Congress.

                1. 1. The large corporations progs rail against are often times the result of government influence in the markets and not naturally occurring. See big agriculture (the new boogieman of the left) for a perfect example. The government WANTED to consolidate food production into the hands of fewer. Idiots like you got what you wanted.

                  2. The regulations that are often sold to protect the little guy do nothing of the sort. By empowering the government to regulate every aspect of the economy, you are tilting the scales in the favor of the powerful every time. Because you just created the necessary reason to buy influence. If you had a limited government with specifically defined powers (like America was intended to be), and it wasn’t handing out goodies left and right to a chosen few, there’s no benefit to buying politicians.

                  3. Libertarians don’t view grown adults as children who need protection from a paternalistic government. Nor do they think the job of the law is to side with one class or group against another. The job is to create equality under the law.

                  1. There is this mysterious force that goes on in the heads of progs that apparently renders the government invisible.

                    They see the rampant cronyism and they see two outstretched hands shaking firmly on a sleazy deal. They look to the right and what do they see? EVUL CORPORASHUNZ! Then they look on the left and they see nothing! There’s no one there!

                    It has to be a brain disorder, there’s no other explanation.

                2. Soo.. Christian Gronet/Solyndra should’ve gone to congress first?

        2. I would merely suggest taking the logic you understand for why private prisons are bad and applying it to other public services you might favor universally privatizing, like schools. The profit motive tends to crowd out other agendas, like say keeping society peaceful or educating kids.

          The instruments of power will always be there. The question is whether they are so weak that they must bow to pressure from such moneyed interests. Making them weaker seems obviously to be a recipe for making the private steamrolling of people’s choices and rights simply a cheaper effort.

          1. Only, profit motive doesn’t get in the way of educating kids or most of the things you claim should be public services. And nor is there something I deem to be magical or special about due process and incarceration.

            1. It only took a few short years for the for-profit college and charter school systems to prove to be dismal failures at saving anyone money or educating people. Sometimes, and this is where public services come in, you need to get profit out of the equation, because there are other virtues in this world.

              Resisting moneyed interests (and I include public “servants” like cops and their unions) is necessary but perhaps not sufficient to transform our criminal “justice” system into something more first-world. But it would be a good start.

              1. Source?

                Because charters don’t seem to do worse than public schools generally, nor does an MBA from U-Phoenix seem any shittier than an MBA from Local Non-Prestige-School.

                (Jesus, how can private schools have any worse incentives than the Teacher’s Unions give public ones?

                At least with some competition allowed people can vote with their wallets on outcomes.)

                1. 29 choices of schools!?!.. that’s just too many..

              2. Please explain how profit motive inherently distorts the primary goal of educating people. Now explain why someone would pay to send their child willingly to a school that won’t prepare them for anything. And why all of those private schools that are technically non-profits are considered elite, Tony.

                The issue that results in private jails in this country is that they are tied to government. The judicial process is still carried out by the state. The state is going to convict and sentence people, and simply task the body housing people (the instrument of taking away their freedom) to cut costs. There is an obvious distortion here. When many contracts call for them to get charged per head, and they can buy influence with politicians, you further distort things. you have politicians awarding money that isn’t theirs to pay off someone paying them off. And the tax payer who provides the funds here to make it all go has little to no control. Moving is one option, but your still part of the same government. As in, the tax payer (the real ‘customer’ here) isn’t represented as they are in a market. The state owns the coercion and there is no real escaping the state.

                The consequences are far more morally repugnant than most other cases of corruption.

          2. “The profit motive tends to crowd out other agendas, like say keeping society peaceful or educating kids.”

            Yeah, explain that to those public sector altruists at the highway patrol, after your ticket, but before the impound/seize your vehicle..

          3. “I would merely suggest taking the logic you understand for why private prisons are bad and applying it to other public services you might favor universally privatizing, like schools.”

            This is a false equivalency. If schools were privatized, the customers (parents) could choose which ones receive their business, thus exposing said schools to market forces. Prisons do not have “customers”, as such, but instead fulfill the government’s legitimate role of protecting the rights of the people.

      3. Prisons are one of very few things that would not be better as private, for profit industries.

        1. Disagree. But I’m an anarchist, which apparently libertarians are not.

          Private prisons are not worse than public prisons. Both have terrible conditions, and private prisons are a problem because the demand side of the equation is still political. A privatized DEA – contracting out DEA’s mission to private companies – may save a few bucks, but would obviously still be super shitty.

          A good run down of the problem.

        2. Since we’re not talking about a private system of criminal law enforcement, “private prisons” just means prisons run under contract. There’s nothing inherently wrong about that; it seems everybody has a little hatred of the evil profits if you can just find the right topic. Moreover, if the government officials in charge of managing the contracts can’t do that right, what makes you think they run their own prisons any better?

          1. In fact, I’d wager to say that the reason private prisons (like private police) have a bad rap is that they get more press:

            1. There’s a narrative to build: private bad, government good.

            2. It’s politically easier to assign blame: who cares about lowly contractors?

            3. It’s harder to keep a lid on the abuse: the culture is less insular.

            Think of it this way: the coziest government-contractor relationship is still more adversarial and transparent than the average government-government relationship. The problem with private prisons isn’t the profit motive, the graft, or the abuse; it’s the fact that all of these things are more easily brought to light.

          2. Depends on the contract.
            “Under 90% full incurs the following penalties…..”
            “Sentences under XX years incur the following penalties….”
            “Violent criminals exceeding xx% incur the following penalties….”

      4. Interesting. So what did the conservative caucus say when you told them that?

    2. Smells like a lobbying effort.

      Principles, not princiPal… wait.

    3. This reads more like a “be seen to be doing something”, “who’ll think of the children?” photo-op than anything else.

      Who’d lobby against powdered alcohol?

      It’s not really competition to liquid alcohol; nobody’s gonna be buying it to Replace Wine And Beer And Flavored Spirits.

      People like drinking those because of their flavors, and they’re cheaper than powdered alcohol, as far as I understand the price model.

      It might, maybe, undercut a little bit of vodka and everclear sales, though not significantly.


      “Despite bipartisan, majority support in poll after poll, Pennsylvania lawmakers have yet to get government out of the booze business,” noted Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “The main reason? Government union lobbying and political spending against taxpayers’ interests. What’s worse is that taxpayers are forced to pay for it all.”

      Aside from the overwhelming economic reasons for Pennsylvania to get out of the alcohol sales business, the state liquor and wine monopoly has produced a breeding ground for corruption. The state ethics commission recently found several Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board members guilty of accepting gifts from PLCB vendors. “If government bureaucrats did not have the sole authority to determine what alcohol is sold in all the state’s liquor stores,” the Commonwealth Foundation points out, “businesses would have no incentive to bribe them with golf outings, fancy dinners, and free liquor.”

      Unfortunately, entrenched government interests don’t want their power taken away. The industry can lobby all it wants, but unless that lobbying convinces the decision-makers to give up this kind of power, it’s all for naught.

    5. It is most certainly this. Behind every effort to “improve safety” or “protect the children” is a big business trying to increase the barriers of entry into the market and to use economies of scale to squash small, innovative competitors.

    6. Hmmm, sounds like a good reason government shouldn’t have the power to ban things in the first place to prevent corporations from seeking protections. I wonder which party is in favour of that?

  6. Hallelujah, we’re saved.
    Speaking of alcohol…
    *looks at clock*

  7. “*crack cocaine* can be used so much more dangerously than if it was a liquid powder.”

    We’ve heard it all before..

  8. Obviously I think the ban is terrible. But what good is powdered alcohol? It can’t possibly be lighter or easier to transport than a plastic bottle of vodka and some Kool-Aid mix.

    1. Powdered alcohol isn’t even new. It’s been around for a long time, but just sort of grew in popularity recently. A little. Or the media just took notice. It tastes like shit and few people would actually prefer it to what they already use. It’s cheaper and they have flavored powders. It has some value for mixed drinks.

    2. But what good is powdered alcohol?

      Same good as powdered milk?

      1. But powdered milk is lighter and less bulky than milk.

        1. Right, and wouldn’t powdered alcohol be?

          1. Did you read the Wired article? Powdered alcohol is bulkier. Milk is around 90% water, so you can take all the water out, and that reduces the volume greatly. With high-proof alcohol, like Bacardi 151, the water content is only around 25%, so there isn’t that much water to take out, and then you have to add large starch molecules to trap the alcohol.

    3. No idea. I honestly can’t see any benefit at all to this product. I mean, the purpose of rendering things into a powder form is to preserve them. That can be very useful with things like milk, egg whites, etc. But alcohol? I just don’t get it.

      The only thing stupider is the notion that the government should ban it For The Children?.

  9. I guess someone could put it in an envelope and mail it to Schumer to show him how harmless the stuff is.

    1. I’m posting too much, but you are just asking for the federales to send out another flurry of subpoenas. If you insist, at least use the disclaimer that has been kindly crafted by other posters.

      1. That chilling effect, I have felt it.

          1. On Maria Shiver?

    2. Please note that I have no interest in mailing palcohol or any other powdered substance to anyone, ever. This comment was only intended as humor and should not be construed as a threat or incitement of a violent act. I drink beer and have no interest in convincing anyone in the state of New York or anywhere else of the merits of powdered alcohol.

      1. I hate the US so absolutely and completely at this point.

  10. OT:
    I wonder if [redacted] is going to look into this story

    FBI Admits Their Report Released Before 2014 Election Showing Mass Shootings Had Jumped Sharply Was Fabricated?

    But late last week, J. Pete Blair and M. Hunter Martaindale, two academics at Texas State University who co-authored the FBI report, acknowledged that “our data is imperfect.” They said that the news media “got it wrong” last year when they “mistakenly reported mass shootings were on the rise.”

    Mind you, the authors did not issue this mea culpa in the major news outlets that supposedly misreported the original findings. Instead, the authors published it in ACJS Today, an academic journal published by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. “Because official data did not contain the information we needed, we had to develop our own,” wrote Messrs. Blair and Martaindale. “This required choices between various options with various strengths and weaknesses.”

    1. “Because official data did not contain the information we needed, we had to develop our own,” wrote Messrs. Blair and Martaindale. “This required choices between various options with various strengths and weaknesses.”

      Climate science.

  11. And it’s not just state governments seeking to ban the powdered drink mix. Sen. Charles Schumer (D?N.Y.) is pushing an “emergency amendment to legislation this week that would make it illegal to produce, sell or possess Palcohol,” according to CBS New York.

    A ban on [powdered] alcohol? Didn’t that used to require an amendment?

    1. BPATFE..

      1. You know, they’re overdue for a new initial.

        1. It will require a substantial budget increase, and new powers, more authority. They get paid by the letter..

    2. Only Federally.

      States have always had the ability to ban things like that, traditionally.

      (Per Wikipedia, “By 1913 nine states had statewide prohibition and 31 others had local option laws, placing more than 50 percent of the United States population under some form of alcohol prohibition”.)

      1. Only Federally.

        Which Schumer is trying to do, no?

      2. Commerce Clause, bro.

  12. I smell a lobbying effort. If only politicians didn’t control buying and selling, then they wouldn’t be so susceptible to being bought and sold.

    How does a politician protect himself from the unscrupulous offerings of money?

    1. Join the peace corps?

      1. Oh, corps… I initially read that as “corpse”.

        This comment should not be take in any way as a threat.

        1. Corpsemen?

          1. Calling them zombies would other Haitians.

  13. Since this is New York, I wonder what a certain judge thinks…

    1. I think the judge may be more curious about what WE think…

  14. Booze and sex are to Americans what private guns are to Europeans.

    1. Something we’re too immature to handle safely?

  15. I just had a thought: partisinal goods. Commodities tailored not for a philosophical benchmark like organic or fair trade or homemade or whatever, but for anti-philosophical partisanship: animal products sourced from Peta’s most reviled factory farms, materials from sweatshops in countries with no fair labor laws, using machine-stamping manufacturers powered by coal-fired plants in solidly Republican counties, and no human contact if possible. Blood diamonds and rainforest logging and maximizing the carbon footprint with products shipped unnecessary distances packaged in huge swathes of petrochemical plastic and foam. A percentage of every sale would go to counteracting lefty causes. It would run a little more expensive than off-the-shelf products, but you’d be paying extra for the schadenfreude.

    1. “Partisinal Mayonnaise” Made from real salty ham tears, and fresh squeezed California Condor..

      *contains only 8% condor juice*

      1. Reodorant, for after you take a bath.

    2. It would run a little more expensive than off-the-shelf products, but you’d be paying extra for the schadenfreude.

      Not true, according to this: “The company [McDonald’s] has made more millionaires?and especially more black and Hispanic millionaires?than any other entity ever.”

      Also, note the byline.

      1. The comments are a treat, too. “let’s hunt and eat Republican” has some valuable insights about the “mass produced, semi-edible, toxic garbage” that McDonald’s sells, which is simultaneously cheap enough to feed a family for $17 but still a coercive bargain because… because. Because it’s there, evidently. And then he goes on to preen about the moral superiority of empathetic liberals.

        1. Do you ever wonder if “let’s hunt and eat Republicans” and “M Simona” ever hooked up? Shame if they didn’t, as they had so much in common.

          1. If you are going to talk about me please spell my name right. There are people watching.

            1. Ah. It is not me. As you were

      2. Chip Wood. There’s the name of a man with a list, if you know what I mean.

        1. Indeed, a man for our troubled times.

  16. I know were all supposed to be Woodchippery in solidarity with our [redacted], but I really prefer fire for disposing of garden waste. A good bonfire is a thing of beauty.

    1. /said bonfire would only have fallen branches, leaves, and grass clippings as fuel of course.

      1. Only lit after a permit was issued, of course, my Lords…

  17. Sen. Charles Schumer (D?N.Y.) should be nominated for legislator of the year. I think suitable prizes would be tree removal eqpt. And safety warnings.

  18. can someone help me? i needed to get a message to the DOJ and my friend said this was the easiest way

  19. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  20. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  21. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  22. They do know the Appalachian Trail passes through their state, don’t they? That’s about the only place I can see where it would come in handy.

  23. Charles Schumer is an idiot, so his actions don’t surprise me.

  24. My classmate’s step-aunt makes $61 hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her pay check was $12801 just working on the internet for a few hours. try this out.

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