I think I shared the story of ordering my first beer in Bloomington and being denied because, unlike Florida, Indiana was a 21 state, not 18. “Near beer” (3.2% alcohol) was allowed and was also watery and tasteless. It was shocking to me to lose a legal right and, like many living under unjust laws, I got a fake ID.
For those of us who drank alcohol legally at 18 comes the news that there’s a movement brewing (no pun intended) in some states, including California, to return to those days. If you recall, 21 was the threshold designated by the Reagan Administration for states wanting access to federal transportation funds. What’s bringing this latest challenge to 21 is Obamacare.
The Supreme Court said states could not be threatened with the loss of federal dollars for not complying with provisions in the Affordable Care Act. So a clever legislator in Minnesota had determined that the same right applies to transportation funds and the legal drinking age.
She is not alone in this thinking. In light of binge drinking, 130 university presidents support lowering the legal drinking age. Their argument: European teens drink and they don’t go crazy from withheld exposure to alcohol like American youth do. One proposal is lowering the age to 19, thinking high school is finished, and allowing drinking in bars, restaurants and at sporting events. Retail sales would not be permitted.
What do you think? There are two dominant schools of thought: 1) no underage drinking at all and 2) parents teach their kids how to drink. One problem with point 2 is when a lenient parent lets your kid drink.
Speaking of, did you read about the mom who was arrested in Florida for providing alcohol and marijuana at her middle schooler’s party? She had a moment of conscience before making the wrong choice. But this is an extreme case.
Notbefore21.com opposes California lowering the legal drinking age and Alcohol Justice, a collaborative working on this issue, doubts its passage. Google both for additional information. I posted this article on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. What do you think?
Suzy Jacobs, Executive Director,
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Glendale, CA 91208 (818) 646-7867