"We do all sorts of things together to make everyone safer," Jernigan said. "This is the equivalent of a traffic light in alcohol, this is putting a big red light in front of this product, which is so potentially dangerous."

Wells Discount Liquors in Rodgers Forge stopped selling the 190-proof version of Everclear a few months ago in favor of the 151-proof version, said beverage consultant Patrick McKee. McKee said 190-proof is too high and unnecessary for human consumption.

"You can get the same effect from a lower proof. ... Most folks are looking for a high-alcohol, flavorless beverage to mix," he said. "151-proof is still rock-and-roll, big-time alcohol."

Some liquor store workers said grain alcohol was no longer a big seller. Tom Ward, manager of Eddie's Liquors of Charles Village, said he doesn't think the new law will affect the store's revenue because it has "got a lot of other things that sell much better than that." He said mostly 21- to 24-year-olds purchased grain alcohol.

Chung said he has "seen people get in much more trouble with 80-proof" liquor and that grain alcohol is more of a "once in a while ... niche" item. Chung estimated the store sells up to 30 times more 80-proof alcohol than grain alcohol.

Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this article.



New laws

More than 200 bills that passed this year take effect Tuesday. Here are how some of those bills will affect you:

Gas tax: The tax per gallon will increase by less than half a penny to 27.4 cents per gallon, thanks to a provision of the 2013 gas tax that ties annual increases to inflation.

Community giving: Donating to endow a qualified community foundation can earn you a tax credit of 25 percent of the donation, thanks to a bill designed to spur investment in community groups.

Estate tax: Maryland is slowly raising the threshold of estates that must be taxed under state law from $1 million to $5 million. The law that takes effect Tuesday exempts estates of $1.5 million or less, provided the decedent dies after Jan. 1, 2015.

Minimum wage: Maryland is slowing raising its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The law that takes effect Tuesday makes it official, and businesses need to prepare to start paying minimum-wage workers $8 an hour in January, up from the current minimum of $7.25.

Liquor board reforms: A sweeping set of reforms takes effect to reshape the troubled Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners. Among several provisions, the law puts the liquor board under more direct supervision of the mayor and requires more electronic records and greater transparency from an agency that's been beset by bureaucratic problems.

"E-nnovation" fund: As part of a bill to encourage investment in Maryland's research colleges, the state will set up a fund to match donations to endow chairs at Maryland's research institutions. Starting next summer, the next governor will be required to set aside $8.5 million to pay to match donations of $500,000 or more.

Earned income tax credit: As a way to help the state's poorest residents, a new law will slightly increase the amount of money awarded to low-income workers who already qualify for the state's earned income tax credit. The amount of the credit will increase from 25 percent to 25.5 percent this year, and it will eventually go up to 28 percent in 2018.