US state bans high strength grain alcoholBy Melita Kiely
The sale of high strength grain alcohol is now illegal in the state of Maryland in the US.
The law came into effect on Tuesday and prohibits the sale of grain alcohol at or above 95% abv, a measure that lawmakers believe will reduce sexual assaults and binge drinking among university students.
In February, the Maryland Senate voted 37-10 in favour of the spirit’s outlaw, which could result in a fine of up to US$1,000 for those found breaking the law.
Maryland joins 12 other states that have already banned high proof grain alcohol, including Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
“Getting it off the market will maybe reduce problems at the college level,” Del. Charles Barkley told The Baltimore Sun.
He added students were using super strength alcohol to get “bombed out of their mind” thus putting endangering themselves.
However, local vendors believe it will only be a matter of time until manufacturers of high strength grain alcohol begin producing slightly lower-proof alcohol, such as 94% abv, as a way around the law.
Jay Chung, manager of Charles Village Schnapp Shop in Maryland, has been left with approximately 30 bottles of grain alcohol that he must now try and sell back to the distributor, and described the new law as “an exercise in futility”.
Barkley also said that while 75.5% abv alcohol was still a concern, the law helps targets “the worst of the worst”.