LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska’s liquor regulators will let the Legislature decide whether to bar or order a tight watch over powdered alcohol, if the product ever hits store shelves.

Some states have already barred Palcohol, which is owned by Lipsmark. Palcohol comes in pouches that hold the equivalent of one shot of alcohol in rum or vodka flavor and is added to water or mixers.

Lipsmark must obtain labeling approval from federal regulators before distributing Palcohol to stores.

The company doesn’t expect that to happen until at least spring.

Hobert Rupe, executive director of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, told the Lincoln Journal Star that Palcohol presents several regulatory problems.

The commission said in a November letter to lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman that “technology advancements will result in an increase of products that are not clearly defined as beverage alcohol but result in the same type of usage.”

Former Nebraska commission member Bill Austin said Palcohol’s touted portability in pouches is one of its big problems.

Palcohol could be smuggled far more easily than bottles of booze into places such as sports stadiums and schools where alcohol is prohibited.

The powder also would make it easier for underage drinkers to conceal their drinking from adults, adding to the product’s appeal to children, Austin said.

Palcohol officials have said they’ve not been given a chance to address regulatory problems and that prohibition doesn’t work.

A statement on the company’s website said the product should be sold in licensed liquor stores where consumers must show a valid ID, “to keep it out of the hands of underage drinkers.”

Rupe’s office has been asked about Palcohol, but he said he doesn’t know of any plans by lawmakers to introduce bills barring powdered alcohol from the state.

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