- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Pure powdered caffeine could not be sold in Ohio under legislation headed Wednesday to the governor’s desk, more than a year after a teenager overdosed on the stimulant and died days before his high school graduation.

The state Senate cleared the measure on a 26-5 vote. It would also prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol. Republican Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the bill.

The proposal would make it a misdemeanor offense to sell products consisting solely or primarily of caffeine that’s manufactured into a crystalline, liquid or powdered form.

Eighteen-year-old Logan Stiner was found unresponsive May 27, 2014, in his family’s home in LaGrange, southwest of Cleveland. The coroner said he had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system - as much as 23 times the amount found in the system of a typical coffee or soda drinker.

Stiner was a popular student who was voted prom king, wrestled and planned to study chemical engineering at the University of Toledo.

Caffeine powder is usually marketed as a dietary supplement and is unregulated, unlike caffeine added to soda.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have the legal authority to just pull such a substance off the shelves, but the agency has been building a legal case against those who are marketing it in bulk to get them to stop.

Federal regulators have warned consumers to avoid pure powdered caffeine, which is typically sold online. Even a teaspoon of the powder could be lethal - it is equivalent to about 25 cups of regular coffee, the FDA says.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Gayle Manning, has acknowledged that it would be hard to enforce the ban. But she has said she hopes it will send a message to companies and to the FDA that the product should not be sold.

Manning told her colleagues Wednesday that passage of the measure would make Ohio the first state to bar sales of the powerful stimulant.

Similar proposals to crack down on caffeine powder sales have been introduced in Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Powdered alcohol has come under scrutiny from state lawmakers who have moved to ban it before the product Palcohol hits shelves this summer. The powder makes vodka and rum drinks or cocktails when mixed with water.

Legislators have expressed concerns that the powder can be easily concealed by underage drinkers and could exacerbate substance abuse issues.

State Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said senators did not have a chance to fully vet the ban on powdered alcohol and he couldn’t support it. He also suggested that Ohio could restrict the substance in other ways, such as allowing only state liquor stores to sell it.

“I don’t know of too many kids that are walking into the state liquor store and buying bottles of Tanqueray or J&B; or Johnny Walker or Jack Daniels,” Seitz told his colleagues. “And I don’t think too many kids could get in a state liquor store and walk out with a container of powdered alcohol.”

At least 12 states have statutorily prohibited the sale of powdered alcohol, according to updated numbers from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Others have created temporary bans or sought to regulate it.

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Follow Ann Sanner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asanner

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