Ohio House votes to ban powdered alcohol, pure caffeine

The Ohio House of Representatives voted overwhelming to ban powdered alcohol and pure caffeine yesterday, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reports. The bill passed by the House (SB 7) actually originated in the Senate as a ban on pure caffeine only. It was amended in the House to include the ban on powdered alcohol and must now return to the Senate for a vote. WKRC reports that this is the third time in seven months that a bill banning powdered alcohol has been in front of the Ohio Senate. According to the Media Group article, however, Ohio Senate President Keith Faber has stated that there is wide support for this bill among his GOP caucus.

According to USA Today, the sale of powdered alcohol, or "Palcohol," became legal in the U.S. when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved it this March. The product becomes drinkable alcohol of different varieties when mixed with water. A Hartford Courant article earlier this month describing a recent ban enacted in Connecticut noted that several other states have already banned sale of the product or have moved to do so.

WKRC reports that pure caffeine came under fire after an Ohio teen fatally overdosed on such a product. According to the Northeast Ohio Media Group, Ohio Rep. Tim Brown has asserted that one teaspoon of pure caffeine in its powdered form is equivalent to 32 cups of coffee.  The current bill would not ban caffeine-containing products such as coffee, tea or soda and would permit pills that contain up to 250 milligrams of caffeine. The original bill had passed the Senate with only one no vote. The amended bill passed the House 92-3.

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