The state of Maryland, backed by major universities, are looking to tackle college-age (and oftentimes underage), binge drinking in a big way. The Maryland Senate passed a bill, that, if it holds up in the House of Delegates, would ban the sale of grain alcohol, or liquors above 190 proof like Everclear, a clear, tasteless grain alcohol brand that’s popular on college campuses because it takes so little of the product to become intoxicated.
According to The Washington Post, if passed, a violation would result in a $1,000 fine, but there would be no penalty for possession of the high-proof liquor. Senators in opposition to the bill are concerned that young drinkers will just buy more of a different type of alcohol. But still, college campuses like Johns Hopkins University and Towson University approve of the measure.
“This is a good step on part of Maryland to try to address this huge issue,” said Professor Donna Cox, director of alcohol tobacco and other drug abuse prevention center at Towson University. “For these students, it’s not really about getting the alcohol. It’s very purposeful in that they want to get wasted and don’t understand implications of that.”
Noah Rothbaum, the editor-in-chief at Liquor.com said that grain alcohol is a very niche product, and is often used by bartenders for specialty drinks. Although he would not comment directly on the ban of grain alcohol, he did say that the product is so flammable, that it is often used in flambé desserts. “Most stores don’t even stock Bacardi 151 or Everclear; it’s a niche product,” said Rothbaum. “Grain alcohol should be treated special because obviously you’re going to feel the alcohol a lot more.”