Okay, this leads to some inter­est­ing questions.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) — Dutch stu­dents have invented pow­dered alco­hol which they say can be sold legally to minors.

The lat­est inno­va­tion in ine­bri­a­tion, called Booz2Go, is avail­able in 20-​​gram pack­ets that cost €1–1.5 ($1.35-$2).

Top it up with water and you have a bub­bly, lime-​​colored and –fla­vored drink with just 3 per­cent alco­hol content.

Possibly this could be sold to peo­ple under 16 in the Netherlands — but we can be prox­i­mally cer­tain it wouldn’t fly in the states. For one thing, I don’t think the laws bar­ring sale to alco­hol to minors spec­ify that it has to be liq­uid; and besides, adults in the US seem to pre­fer their teens beg­ging for plea­sure rather than hav­ing con­trol over their own chemically-​​altered destinies.*

Apparently, though, Dutch laws are more spe­cific, dic­tat­ing that alco­hol is a liq­uid, not a solid.

Because the alco­hol is not in liq­uid form, we can sell it to peo­ple below 16,” said project mem­ber Martyn van Nierop. […] The stu­dents said com­pa­nies inter­ested in mak­ing the prod­uct com­mer­cially could avoid taxes because the alco­hol was in pow­der form. A num­ber of com­pa­nies are inter­ested, they said.

I’d actu­ally be inter­ested in see­ing chap­ter and verse of Dutch law quoted that states, explic­itly, its reg­u­la­tion of alco­hol is on the fluid ver­sion only. The rea­son I sus­pect such a state­ment might not exist is sim­ply that it wouldn’t have occurred to any­one alco­hol might not be a fluid. That is, I can’t imag­ine a Nederlander law­maker say­ing, “You know, Pym, we should make sure to add we’re talk­ing about the fluid known as ethanol, as opposed to the ice crys­tal or gaseous version.”

A search of the Arizona statutes seems to back me up on this — laws are present which refer to alco­hol, intox­i­ca­tion and spir­i­tous liquors — as well as the reg­u­la­tion and con­trol of booze — and there’s nowhere near enough wig­gle room for our Dutch friends to open a mar­ket here sell­ing their new and improved Lik-​​M-​​Aid. For instance:

4–244. Unlawful acts

It is unlawful: […]

40. For a per­son under the age of twenty-​​one years to have in the person’s body any spir­i­tu­ous liquor.

But it’s not a spir­i­tous liquor!” one might protest. “It’s pow­dered!” Sure. Until you add water.

I pre­sume Dutch laws con­tain sim­i­lar word­ing — this same statute in another sub­sec­tion specif­i­cally for­bids sale of spir­i­tous liquor to minors, but it doesn’t mat­ter, because con­sump­ton is ille­gal any­way — and the pow­der, once con­sumed, becomes a spir­i­tous liquor. I think these stu­dents are a lit­tle too smart for their own good.

Which is too bad, because I was hop­ing they’d per­form an encore in the form of liq­uid hashish. Oh well.

(H/​T Shelley)

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* Seriously. Think about it. This explains a hell of a lot of perversity.

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