Md. Senate Passes Bill Banning Sale of Grain Alcohol - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Senate Passes Bill Banning Sale of Grain Alcohol

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SALISBURY, Md.- College drinking, and specifically binge drinking, is widely known to be a concern across the country. That is part of the inspiration behind a bill in Maryland which, if passed, would ban the sale of grain alcohol.

At 190-proof, grain alcohol is a pretty potent liquor. It is roughly 16 times stronger than beer and more than two times stronger than vodka. University presidents across the state have been pushing for it to be banned for a while, arguing that taking it off store shelves will help curb binge drinking and reduce sexual assaults. But others disagree.

Binge drinking can be a deadly problem, and the proof is in the numbers, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which reports some 1,000 alcohol-related deaths in the state between 2007 and 2012.

But is a ban on sales of grain alcohol the answer?

"I feel like with so many options, alcohol-wise, that banning one specific type of alcohol won't really do too much," said Salisbury University senior Bryan Bennett.

"It's definitely a good first step, definitely, and definitely taking a good consideration of the students here," remarked Shanell Brooks, a junior at SU.

"I don't think it'll work at all, because they make anything illegal, people are just going to want to do it more," countered SU junior Billy Rodgers.

Besides that, Rodgers said he thinks the government is overstepping its bounds.

"I think a lot of things do infringe on our rights and stuff, and I don't think that's really fair."

Others, like sophomore Alyssa Sherr, applaud lawmakers' efforts.

"I believe it's a good idea, because binge drinking is not good and we need to cut it down," she said.

Meantime, at Tax Free Liquors in Delmar, they are applauding those efforts for a different reason.

"I think that would mean more customers coming in here for it, because we are in Delaware," said employee Joseph Sizemore.

Senate Bill 75 passed in a 37 to 10 vote Wednesday. It is now in the House, where it may have a tougher time, as it has already killed similar bills banning grain alcohol twice in the past.

If it passes, Maryland would join a dozen states that have banned the sale of 190-proof alcohol products, including Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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