Md. General Assembly moves to ban sale of grain alcohol

The Maryland General Assembly has passed a bill that would ban the sale of grain alcohol.

The House of Delegates voted 99 to 35 Friday to ban the retail sale of any alcoholic product above 190 proof, or about 95 percent pure ethyl alcohol. The Senate passed the measure Feb. 5 by a vote of 37 to 10. Violators would be subject to a misdemeanor on conviction and a fine of up to $1,000.

Supporters of the ban said the highly concentrated form of booze has contributed to binge drinking on college campuses because of its low price and its ability to blend easily with flavored drinks. Leading brands include Everclear and Gem Clear.

The legislation — sponsored by Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. and Del. Charles Barkley, who are Montgomery County Democrats – was backed by the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems.

The group, formed in 2013, includes 10 college presidents and public health experts at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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