The House today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson to ban powdered alcohol in Rhode Island.

The legislation is aimed at protecting Rhode Islanders, particularly youth, from a substance with an unknown potential for danger and abuse.

“Most of the powdered drinks that are available today are largely marketed toward children — things like fruit punches and other sweet drinks, hot chocolate and the like. Making alcohol available in that form makes it too appealing to children,” said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport). “The public’s unfamiliarity with this form of alcohol could also lead to people of all ages accidently consuming unsafe amounts of powdered alcohol. Add to that the potential for snorting this product, or kids sneaking it into schools because it’s more transportable and easy to hide, and it’s basically just-add-water danger.”

The legislation (2016-H 7026A) would criminalize the possession, purchase, or sale of powdered alcohol, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. Additionally, the legislation would add the powdered form to the definition of alcohol in state law. Without that change, it might be possible for people to evade laws preventing the sale or transfer of alcohol to minors as well as tax laws that apply to alcohol if it is in powdered form.

Powdered alcohol is molecularly encapsulated alcohol which, when mixed with water, produces an alcoholic beverage. A product called “Palcohol” – which had received initial approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in 2014 only to have it rescinded – was officially approved later in the year by a federal regulator.

As of November, 27 states had laws banning powdered alcohol.

The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown), Rep. Eileen S. Naughton (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown). It will now proceed to the Senate, which passed identical legislation (2016-S 2059) sponsored by Sen. Frank Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston) last month.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.