Palcohol (Powdered Alcohol) Legal in Maryland, Coming This Summer, Maybe

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What if absolutely any boring old drink could be discreetly turned into a cocktail by stirring in powdered alcohol? That idea is either very enticing or very frightening, depending on how you think about it. And it’s very nearly a reality in Maryland.

According to, Mark Phillips wanted to kick back with an “adult beverage” after a day of hiking through the wilderness, but he didn’t want to carry “heavy bottles of wine, beer, or spirits” with him. Yadda, yadda, yadda, he invents powdered alcohol, or Palcohol (patent pending).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Palcohol for distribution. It could be available as soon as this summer. And Maryland is currently figuring out how to respond to it, Baltimore Business Journal reports.

David H. Jernigan, the director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has voiced his concern that Palcohol will be “most popular among the heaviest drinking and more risk-prone youth.”

The General Assembly’s current session ends April 13, so there’s only so much time to pass statewide legislation that would preempt the sale of Palcohol.

Baltimore is currently “looking at all available options,” according to the city’s new health commissioner. And I don’t think she means Palcohol’s flavored varieties.

Of course, Phillips says that these Palcoholophobes have it all wrong. Palcohol is not a super-concentrated version of alcohol. Palcohol’s 4″ x 6″ pouches are not easy to conceal. Plus, the opening on the pouch is much larger than the mouths of most bottles, which means it’s easier to pour water or a soft drink into the pouch than to pour the powder into a bottle.

Palcohol is already banned in Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. Other states are currently considering legislation. Sen. Charles Schumer has moved to have it banned federally.

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