Legislation to allow 151-proof clear grain alcohol to be sold in Virginia liquor stores has moved through the General Assembly with the speed of, well, white lightning, prompting public health officials at colleges and universities to ask Gov. Terry McAuliffe to veto the bill.
The Virginia College Alcoholic Leadership Council warned McAuliffe this week that House Bill 143, which is on its way to the governor after gliding through the legislature with little opposition in either chamber, poses a health threat to students because it would allow the sale of low-priced “extreme strength” alcohol that is tasteless, odorless and colorless.
“These beverages are very low cost, and their unflavored nature makes the level of alcohol difficult to detect,” said Steven Clarke, the council’s executive director and director of the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center at Virginia Tech, in a letter to the governor.
Clarke warned that the consequences could include an increase in alcohol-related sexual assaults, including use as a weapon by sexual predators. “Further, this would likely result in increases in negative consequences for our campuses, such as personal injury, property damage, and academic non-performance,” he told the governor.
Legislative leaders said the swift passage of the bill, sponsored by Del. Barry D. Knight, R-Virginia Beach, was not influenced by $5,500 in campaign contributions that Luxco made to legislative political action committees in December.The St. Louis-based company produces Everclear, a neutral grain alcohol product that can be sold at 151 and 190 proof in Virginia only to holders of special permits for industrial, commercial culinary and medical uses, not in state Alcoholic Beverage Control stores.
Do we send anyone to Richmond who has a grain of sense (pun intended)? The theme last year seemed to be about sexual assaults and drunkeness on college campuses. Colleges sounded the alarm nation-wide about drunkeness, promiscuity, campus rape and sexual assaults. Was the Virginia General Assembly not listening?
Grain alcohol is very potent and it certainly isn’t new. It has one purpose–a cheap and quick drunk. I have never known an adult to drink it and I have known some pretty heavy drinkers in my day. I guess they didn’t like feeling like dog-crap for 3 days afterwards. There are certainly kinder ways to get drunk.
My introduction to gain alcohol was at UVA frat parties when I was growing up in Charlottesville. Boys would go into DC, head on over to the Dixie Liquor Store and buy up a punch of it and then mix horrible concoctions that had one purpose and one purpose only–to get everyone drunk.
So why did the General Assembly approve the sale of this product in its ABC stores? Currently a special permit is required to order it. Here is what the Va ABC Store has to say about it:
IN VIRGINIA, A GRAIN ALCOHOL PERMIT IS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN THIS PRODUCT. Everclear is a brand of grain alcohol with an extremely high alcoholic concentration. It is available in 190 proof (95 percent alcohol) and 151 proof (75.5 percent alcohol) varieties. It is illegal to sell in many states in the United States. Everclear can be lethal, and should not be consumed in shooters, used as a substitute for water, or ingested straight. It should be mixed with other ingredients when used in preparation of an alcoholic beverage. Because of it’s high alcohol content, Everclear is very flammable and should be handled with care.
More roofies, more drunks, more sexual assaults, more lethal traffic accidents. More kids drowning in their own vomit after being drunk out of their minds.
Thanks a lot, General Assembly–you morons! Clearly this is not a product Virginia wants or needs. There is obvious danger in lessening the restrictions on this product. Let the bill goes through like white lightening. This is absurd and irresponsible. I urge the governor to veto this irresponsible legislation.
Now…about those campaign contributions….