Maryland Bans Grain Alcohol

By Bryan Le 07/02/14

On July 1, a series of new laws limiting some alcohol sales and expanding others took effect across the state.


The state of Maryland has passed laws banning 190-proof grain alcohol, or about 95% alcohol or higher, starting this past Tuesday, July 1. Among the new law's strongest supporters are college leaders, who fear grain alcohols are a fast and cheap way for students to get dangerously drunk.

"This is a product that college presidents identified as a substantial problem on their campuses," said David Jernigan, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It packs a wallop that is easily disguised."

Maryland is not the first to pass such a ban; more than 12 other states, including Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, have also disallowed the sale of grain alcohol.

Also taking effect this week was a previously passed law banning so-called vaportinis, a heated "drink" that is inhaled through a glass straw, allowing absorption of alcohol directly through the lungs into the bloodstream. Anyone caught with a vaportini device will be charged with a misdemeanor.

Despite new restrictions on alcohol, the state has loosened a few laws as well. The hair salons of Maryland's Montgomery County, for example, are now allowed to serve a glass of wine or champagne to their customers, while microbreweries no longer have to be fully-licensed restaurants to sell their craft beers.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter