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Ban On Sale Of Grain Alcohol Takes Effect In Maryland

The sale of high-proof alcohol is now banned in Maryland.

Under a law passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley earlier this year, any drink that is 95 percent alcohol — 190 proof — can no longer be sold in the state.

Proponents of the measure said that grain alcohol like Everclear led to alcohol poisoning, fights, sexual assaults, injuries, and deaths. States like Virginia and Pennsylvania place limits on the alcohol, while D.C. allows its sale.

"It's odorless. It's tasteless. It's an easy way, if you want to dump grain alcohol into a punch or any other drink, in order to up the grain alcohol content," argued Montgomery County Democrat Richard Madaleno, who sponsored the bill in the Maryland Senate.

Critics — 10 senators opposed the bill — argued that banning high-proof alcohol was a slippery slope, and it could lead to further bans in the future.

"Where do we draw the line? If we're at 190 this year, the next bill will come in at 150 or 110 or 90," said Republican Ed Reilly of Anne Arundel County during the debate.

Other alcohol-related laws are also going into effect. In Montgomery County, a new law will allow customers at hair salons to have a glass of wine or champagne. Additionally, the county is removing a restriction that requires microbreweries to be fully licensed restaurants before being able to sell their beer and is making it easier for them to distribute their beer to licensed vendors in the state.

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