(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Craig Coughlin, Charles Mainor, Nancy Pinkin and Joseph Danielsen sponsored to prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol in New Jersey was signed into law on Monday.
Powdered alcohol is ethyl alcohol which is designed to be dissolved in liquid to produce alcoholic beverages. Moriarty first introduced the measure in November of last year. However, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau finally approved the sale of powdered alcohol on the market in March, prompting renewed concerns about the dangers the product poses.
“The lure of this product to underage people and the potential for dangerous misuse among people of any age is ripe. Not only can it be inhaled, it can also be added to another person’s food or drink unbeknownst to them,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Because of its composition, powdered alcohol can also be easily concealed and brought into venues where alcoholic beverages from other sources may not be permitted or places where there is a total ban on alcoholic beverages.”
The new law (A-3580) stipulates that no person shall sell, offer for sale, or deliver, receive or purchase for resale, in this state, any product consisting of or containing powdered alcohol. The law defines “powdered alcohol” as a powder or crystalline substance containing alcohol which is produced for human consumption.
“This product can be easily hidden and allows people to drink pretty much anywhere as long as they have water. That’s trouble waiting to happen,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “Many people have a hard time limiting themselves with the liquid form. The potential for misuse is worrisome, especially among young people who may be experimenting with alcohol for the first time.”
“The makers of this product say people would be foolish to try to snort this product. I guess they never heard of the cinnamon challenge or the fire challenge,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “Young people are impressionable; even more so in our social media age. The last thing we need is another potentially dangerous fad for young people to get into and promote on the Internet.”
“This product, with its powdery form, trivializes the effects of alcohol, which can be especially dangerous for young people who often binge drink,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “From alcohol-poisonings on college campuses to alcohol-fueled accidents, youth and alcohol are a bad mix. We don’t need a product that makes it even easier for them to drink irresponsibly.”
“There are so many untold risks with this product that far outweigh any benefits,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “Clearly most states are in agreement given all the action being taken to prevent this product from flooding the market. New Jersey needed to do the same before we opened a Pandora’s Box of potential misuse and abuse.”
Federal approval of the product prompted fierce opposition from health experts, public health officials and media outlets. New Jersey is now one of six states to ban the product and at least 23 other states are considering legislative bans.
The measure was approved 69-5-4 by the Assembly on June 25 and in the Senate, 39-1 on June 29.