Raleigh, N.C. — The House gave preliminary approval Monday to a proposed statewide ban on the sale of powdered alcohol.
Powdered alcohol has recently come front and center because federal regulators have approved the labels of an Arizona company that wants to sell it under the brand name Palcohol. Sales could start by June.
Rep. Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe, compared the substance to Kool-Aid and noted North Carolina has no laws to regulate its distribution, sale or consumption. He noted that 30 other states have already moved on similar bans.
Rep. Larry Yarborough, R-Person, said in a House committee meeting earlier in the day that he's never seen powdered alcohol and asked Willingham if he has.
"I think it's kind of silly to ban something we don't know anything about," Yarborough said when Willingham responded that he has seen something similar but has never tried it. "It's just another form of alcohol, it seems to me."
Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, asked why North Carolina couldn't simply regulate the substance, similar to the state's other alcohol regulations.
"It's easy to have, easy to use and hard to identify," Willingham said, noting the powder can be sprinkled on food, snorted and secretly carried into venues that don't allow alcoholic beverages.
The House voted 111-5 in favor of the bill after stripping provisions that would have given the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission more authority over when to withdraw a business' license to sell alcohol. A final vote is set for Tuesday before the proposal moves to the Senate.