Pure grain alcohol can be purchased in a majority of states. The states that prohibit the sale of grain alcohol include California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia, according to The Washington Post and The Badger Herald.
In states where the sale of pure grain alcohol has not been explicitly prohibited by state law, such sales are legal. Many states ban the sale of pure grain alcohol to protect college students from alcohol-related illness and fatality, explains The Baltimore Sun. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of states banning the sale of pure grain alcohol for these protectionist reasons.
States that do not sell pure grain alcohol of 190 proof, which is 95 percent alcohol, do allow sales of grain alcohol at lesser proofs. For example, The Daily Iowan notes that Iowa allows grain alcohol sales of 151 proof that is 75.5 percent alcohol.
Other than recreational drinking, pure grain alcohol is used by herbalists to make tinctures, or concentrated herbal extracts, according to Mountain Rose Herbs. The high percentage of alcohol allows extraction of constituents from a plant that would normally be insoluble.