Grain-alcohol ban up for debate in state Senate

Maryland senators will resume debate Wednesday on whether to outlaw the sale of grain alcohol, a colorless spirit so potent the chamber voted to ban it twice before.

More than a dozen other states already forbid the sale of the 190-proof liquor, according to state analysts. The proposal has died in the House of Delegates in the past, but was revived with a new lawmakers pushing it this year.

On Tuesday, the Senate took up the question of whether its prevalence on college campuses contributed to alcohol poisoning, and whether banning it would hurt small businesses that sell it.

Democrat Sen. Rich Madaleno of Montgomery County said the president of Frostburg State University asked him to introduce the bill to ban substance, which is nearly pure alcohol, because of the problems it creates at colleges.

"Our universities are asking us to take this simple step," Madaleno said.

States around Maryland, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia, already ban grain alcohol.

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