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Washington Lawmakers Consider Banning Powdered Alcohol

Palcohol creator Mark Phillips pours the powdered alcohol equivalent of one shot of vodka into a glass in a promotional video on the company's website.

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers in the Washington legislature launched a move Tuesday to ban powdered alcohol.

Lawmakers said they were spurred into action by the recent federal approval of an Arizona company's plan to sell just-add-water versions of rum, vodka and two cocktails. State representative Chris Hurst said the prospect of liquor in hard-to-detect pouches alarms him.

"If this is something that kids are really going to like and smuggle into places because we know it is hard to get bottles into places -- but if you have something you can squash down and flatten and get in and reconstitute -- I just don't think we want that on the market,” he said.

No one defended powdered alcohol at a brief Washington state House hearing. One proposed ban would be temporary for two years and another would be permanent.

The Palcohol company says its product is not for sale anywhere right now but hopes to have it on shelves by this summer. The company founder says powdered alcohol could appeal to outdoor sports enthusiasts who want to save weight.

On Monday, Utah's governor signed a bill outlawing possession of powdered alcohol. Alaska is among several other states that have also banned the product already.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.