Over the past few years, much of the focus on new mind-altering substances in Washington has been concentrated on recreational marijuana, the legal sale of which is currently being implemented. But residents may soon be availing themselves of the newest "party" option: powdered alcohol.
Earlier this month, the s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau issued its approval to allow Palcohol, a powdered alcohol product, to be sold in this country to people aged 21 or over. Palcohol comes in single-dose pouches which can be added to water (or any other beverage) in order to create an alcoholic drink. The makers of Palcohol posted a note on their website saying that they hope to begin selling the product this summer.
However, the federal government did leave the door open to state or local regulation of powdered alcohol. Several states are already considering legislation to regulate or ban the product, including Louisiana, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. Alaska has already banned powdered alcohol outright.
There's no word on any attempts by the Washington Assembly to target Palcohol legislatively. But given how lawmakers love to take on politically-popular causes (like toughening DUI penalties, for example), it wouldn't be surprising to see a bill that focuses on powdered alcohol commerce in the near future.
In addition, the sale of Palcohol could also impact impaired driving enforcement programs. It's not beyond the realm of possibility to hear about police implicating or arresting drivers if they see any type of white powdery substance (even sugar or coffee creamer) inside a vehicle and claim that it "looks like" Palcohol. Moreover, police may claim to "suspect" that a bottle of water or soda can is spiked with Palcohol, and then use this pretense to conduct unlawful vehicle searches or arrest drivers for suspected DUI.
All of this uncertainty about powdered alcohol underscores one cardinal rule: if you are arrested on DUI charges, you should hire an experienced DUI attorney to handle your case.