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  • What Is Powdered Alcohol? | Health Concerns & Legal Status

    What Is Powdered Alcohol? | Health Concerns & Legal Status

    Powdered alcohol is a relatively new, powdered form of alcohol. One popular brand name, Palcohol, was created by Mark Phillips in 2007. His company, Lipsmark LLC, got approval to sell Palcohol in the U.S. in 2015.

    Powdered alcohol has several flavorings, including rum, vodka, and margaritas. They can be mixed with water to make an alcoholic beverage with high alcohol content.

    The legality of powdered alcohol is mostly left to the states. As of 2017, over half of all U.S. states had some sort of ban on powdered alcohol, including Palcohol. Breaking this ban may be punished with jail time, a fine, or both depending on the state.

    Health Effects & Concerns Of Alcohol Powder

    Palcohol is said to have the same alcohol content as a standard mixed drink when mixed with water. It is still an alcohol product and may come with many of the health risks of liquid alcohol.

    Powdered alcohol can be a target of abuse, with some people snorting Palcohol when it was first announced. Powdered alcohol can even be made at home with ingredients like cyclodextrins (a type of starch) and an alcoholic beverage of your choice, which can be illegal in some states.

    Even with the potential public health concerns of powdered alcohol, it can be difficult for state and federal governments to agree on its limits.

    Legal Status Of Powdered Alcohol Products By State

    The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, made Palcohol legal for U.S. sale in 2015. 

    The FDA approved the non-alcoholic additives in Palcohol for public use, but not powdered alcohol itself. Shortly after, state governments and lawmakers had discussions about banning or limiting its sale.

    Compared to liquid alcohol, powdered alcohol is easier to carry around, hide, and add to water to make an alcoholic drink. The added convenience could allow some people to sneak alcohol into places where it was not allowed. 

    This could include forms of illegal drinking like underage drinking.

    Due to these concerns and several others, the sale of powdered alcohol was banned in several states starting in 2015. Some states started proposing laws before Palcohol became legally available. As of early 2017, over 30 states had some sort of ban on powdered alcohol products.

    South Carolina, Vermont, & Virginia

    South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia were some of the first states to look into banning powdered alcohol. As of 2017, consumable powdered alcohol is still banned in these states.


    Maryland temporarily banned powdered alcohol products like Palcohol in 2016. The ban became permanent in 2018.

    Colorado & New Mexico

    In Colorado, powdered alcohol falls under the same rules, taxes, and penalties as liquid alcohol. Colorado shares this ruling with New Mexico, and powdered alcohol is legal in both of these states.

    California & Alaska

    California has a ban on consumable powdered alcohol products as of 2017. Alaska’s ban on these products dates back to 1995. Breaking this ban is considered an infraction in California.

    Commercial powdered alcohol products, or ones meant for professional use, are legal in both California and Alaska. 

    These products are taxed at the same rates as liquid alcohol due to a law passed in 1978. Powdered alcohol may be used as an ingredient in antiseptics and manufacturing products.


    As of 2017, Tennessee has fairly strict laws about powdered alcohol. Powdered alcohol is banned in this state. Buying or possessing powdered alcohol may be a misdemeanor, and can be punishable by paying a fine or serving jail time.

    If a retailer breaks the powdered alcohol laws in Tennessee, they may have their license to sell alcohol suspended or revoked. 

    Other States

    States like Texas, Arizona, and Florida have no regulations on the use of powdered alcohol. 

    Laws about powdered alcohol may still be changing, as Delaware and Oklahoma both banned powdered alcohol in 2018. However, public data on these laws across the U.S. was last updated around 2017.

    Powdered alcohol can be harmful to your health, regardless of the state you are consuming it in. If you cannot control your drinking habits, having powdered alcohol may make it even easier to binge drink or relapse.

    If your health is suffering due to excessive powdered alcohol or liquid alcohol use, help is out there. To find a dedicated treatment program for a drinking problem, contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on August 17, 2022
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