The creator of powdered alcohol is furiously trying to fend off efforts to ban the product in Maine and across the country before it even hits stores.

After winning federal approval last month, Palcohol founder Mark Phillips is preparing to soon begin selling the powder, which makes vodka and rum drinks or cocktails when mixed with water.

But first, Phillips must convince skeptical US lawmakers, who are working frantically to keep powdered alcohol off limits.

“We’re all trying to get our laws in place before it hits the shelves, and he wants to get it on the shelves as quickly as possible to demonstrate that it’s not a problem,” said Maine Rep. Mick Devin, a Democrat who introduced a bill to ban powdered alcohol after Palcohol’s labels gained approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau last month.

Six states have already outlawed it, and lawmakers in about 30 other states have introduced similar bills this year, saying they fear the product will make it easier for minors to abuse booze.

Phillips said he believes the resistance to Palcohol is being driven in part by the liquor industry, which is worried about the competition. He bristles at the suggestion that it’s any more dangerous than liquid alcohol and argues that banning it will only increase demand.

“We learned that prohibition doesn’t work,” Phillips said. “When we ban something, it’s going to make more people want it.”

Palcohol will come in small pouch that’s equivalent to one shot of alcohol. By adding water, juice or soda, one can make vodka or rum drinks. Adding water to the cocktail versions makes a Cosmopolitan or margarita. A lemon drop flavor has yet to gain federal approval.

It’s being marketed toward active people who want to enjoy alcoholic beverages but don’t want to carry heavy bottles while doing things like hiking.

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