by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
Seven states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit, the consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21 with no exceptions. These prohibition states are:
Twenty-one states have no laws prohibiting those under 21 from drinking alcohol. 1 Contrary to popular belief, the National Underage Drinking Act of 1984 does not call for states to enact laws against underage drinking, but only against the purchase and possession of alcoholic beverages. The states with no age prohibition are:
These states may charge persons who have consumed alcohol with alcohol possession or other violations in order to, in essence, enforce a non-existing law.
All other states have laws prohibiting underage consumption but provide exceptions. Common exceptions to the age prohibition include drinking in the presence of, or with the consent of, one’s parent or guardian; drinking with one’s spouse; drinking in one’s parent’s or guardian’s home; drinking in one’s own home; drinking in any other private location; or drinking for religious, educational or medical purposes.
The 22 states with partial age prohibition are
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