Michigan House OKs powdered alcohol ban bill, headed to governor soon

By Serena Maria Daniels

DETROIT (Reuters) - Michigan would become the 27th state to ban the sale of powdered alcohol under a bill approved by state lawmakers on Tuesday that is one step from being sent to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.

The Michigan House of Representatives voted 102-3 on Tuesday to ban the sale, distribution or possession of powdered alcohol, advancing a bill the state Senate unanimously approved in May.

Many states moved swiftly to impose bans on the powdered alcohol product even before the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved labeling in March allowing it to be sold legally in the United States.

Lipsmark LLC, an Arizona-based company that makes Palcohol, has said its product is safer than liquid alcohol. It is mixed with water to create alcoholic drinks.

Michigan Republican state Senator Rick Jones said he saw many young people die from alcohol poisoning when he was a sheriff and sponsored the bill because he was concerned that deaths would increase if powdered alcohol were allowed in the state.

"Powdered alcohol could be easily abused, even without a person's knowledge," Jones said in a statement.

The bill must return to the Senate for a procedural vote before it can be sent to the governor, Jones said.

The governor's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has listed 25 states that have banned powdered alcohol, and New Hampshire's liquor commission in September also announced a ban.

(Reporting by Serena Maria Daniels; Editing by David Bailey and Peter Cooney)