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Md. Senate Passes Bill Banning Alcoholic Products 190 Proof or Higher

"Other products are more expensive. It takes more money to get as drunk, and young people are price sensitive."

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A controversial bill banning any alcoholic products 190 proof and over passed in the Maryland Senate Wednesday with a 37-10 vote.

"Other products are more expensive. It takes more money to get as drunk, and young people are price sensitive," said Sen. Richard Madaleno, Jr., (D) - Montgomery.

Madaleno sponsored Senate Bill 75, which could ban what's commonly known as "moonshine" or "white lightning." His bill carries a $1,000 fine for anyone who's caught selling it.

"More than 1,800 college students each year in this country die of alcohol related poisoning," Madaleno said. "This one product has been known as the largest contributor to it."

Many popular liquor brands, such as Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan, have 40 percent alcohol content. At 95 percent alcohol content, moonshine has more than double that.

"Under the new law that was passed, we can't sell something that has 95 percent alcohol. Is 94 percent okay? No, that's just as destructive," said Sen. David Brinkley (R) - Frederick.

Opponents, including Brinkley, say changing behavior should be the focus, not more legislation.

"There's nothing like waking up from a severe hangover to realize maybe that wasn't the best call last night," Brinkley said. "I would venture to say the vast majority of us have done that, and that comes from experience."

16 other states, including Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have a similar ban.

"I think we can keep on joking about things, about how drunk you got your first year in college, but for some young women, and sometimes now young men, they're waking up in a bed with someone they don't even know. Is that what we want," said Sen. Karen Montgomery, (D) - Montgomery.

The bill now goes to the Maryland House of Delegates, where Madaleno believes it has a good chance of passing. You can read the bill by clicking here.

The Maryland Senate is also debating legalizing marijuana this session. That bill has a hearing on February 25, 2014. You can that bill by clicking here.


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