Palcohol should be welcomed

Jasper Johnson

Two bills proposed in the Minnesota House focus on misunderstood topics of public safety. One would ban powdered alcohol and the other would repeal an existing ban on firearms suppressors. These bills highlight the absurdities of political fearmongering and ill-informed voters. 
 
Despite powdered alcohol’s approval by the FDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a bill in the House is attempting to ban its sale in Minnesota until June 2016. The fears are that the product, also known as Palcohol, would target children and pose a risk of alcohol poisoning from inhalation.
 
Powdered alcohol is not marketed toward children as some sort of candy. It would be sold in liquor stores just like any other form of alcohol. Its packaging is Spartan black and white, and its target audience is actually outdoorsy people. Palcohol originated to serve hikers and campers. It’s inconvenient to carry heavy liquid alcohol in a pack, but
 
Palcohol allows hikers to carry lightweight powder and just mix it in with water from streams or other sources. 
 
The idea that people would get dangerously drunk snorting Palcohol is absurd. For someone to absorb the alcohol equivalent to what’s contained in a single mixed drink, they would need to snort a line of powder about as long as a school bus.
 
Regarding the House’s second proposed bill, legalizing firearms suppressors would not make unstoppable assassins crop up in Minnesota. Suppressors simply do not make firearms whisper quiet, but they do marginally lower the decibels, make them more hearing-safe for hunters and sportsmen. Using suppressors would allow hunters to be more aware of their surroundings and reduce noise that could disturb people and wildlife in the woods. 
 
The arguments against firearms suppressors and powdered alcohol lie in trumped-up and misunderstood facts, with legislation against them functioning under the auspices of public safety. 
 
I ask that voters thoroughly research topics before formulating a charged opinion on them. While it’s arguably a stretch to ask this of civilians, it’s not too much to expect it from politicians. However, an obvious conflict exists in this request — politicians need to make the best decision for their constituents yet somehow reflect constituents’ views in their policies. 
 
This balance is a difficult one to strike, but I advise erring on the side of technocracy. Detailed investigation into powdered alcohol and firearms suppressors debunks many of the misconceptions surrounding both, proving mainstream perceptions to be misguided. 
 
Those who steer the ship of state need to rely not on the well-meaning yet unhelpful shouting of the masses, but rather on composed facts and reason. 
 
Minnesota politicians and citizens need to critically evaluate issues before jumping to conclusions about them. I hope that common misconceptions do not result in the banning of powdered alcohol or maintain the ban on firearms suppressors.