Too much alcohol can make people do crazy things. It can also inspire governments to set crazy laws. For as long as there has been an America, Americans have been known to imbibe, and for just as long, U.S. lawmakers have been creating strange laws to regulate it (like say, the Eighteen Amendment). While some states recently got around to repealing their ridiculous laws, there are still plenty of eyebrow-raising alcohol laws in existence in the country today. Here are a few of our favorites.
You can’t get drunk in Alaska.
If you think the point of going to a bar is to get drunk, think again. It’s illegal to get drunk and be visibly intoxicated in a bar in our northernmost state. Oh, and also, up until recently it was illegal to give alcohol to a moose.
Underage drinkers face homework assignments.
Arkansas has the same legal drinking age as the rest of the country, but the repercussions for underage drinking are a bit unusual. Get caught as a kid drinking in this state and you’ll be paying a fine and writing an essay about alcohol.
No alcohol sales during a hurricane.
The governor can ban the sale of alcohol during a hurricane. If you think about it, it’s not a terrible idea. Drunk people are the last thing overworked emergency responders should have to worry about during a major safety crisis… But if beer is how you plan to pass the time away, stock up now!
No starting tabs.
You can give a bartender your credit card, but what you can’t do is walk into your favorite bar and say “put it on my tab” like Norm from Cheers. Extending credit without show of credit card is illegal.
An outdated definition of drunk.
In Kentucky, a person isn’t considered to be drunk until they can no longer “hold on to the ground.” What does this legislative lingo even mean? It means Kentucky hasn’t updated their definition of drunk in far too long.
Bars stay open 24/7.
The Big Easy makes it super easy to get drunk and party. In New Orleans, not only is public drinking permitted (as long as it’s in a plastic cup), but bars are permitted to stay open and serve alcohol 24/7. There are even drive-thrus that serve Daiquiris. This transaction only becomes illegal when you put a straw in the cup.
Happiness not allowed.
Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fans will never know those killer after work drink specials. As part of a public safety measure, the state forbids happy hours.
Crack a cold one and hit the road.
It’s perfectly legal to drink and drive in Mississippi as long as the driver’s blood alcohol content remains below the legal limit of .08.
Long live drunkenness.
No city or town in Nevada is allowed to make laws against public intoxication. Furthermore, the state says that “public drunkenness is not a public offense and shall not be treated as such.”
No cool license plates for drunk drivers.
Driving impaired should come with consequences, but for citizens of New Jersey, one consequence is kind of wacky. If you’ve been pulled over by the police for drunk driving, you are disqualified from having personalized vanity plates on your vehicle for ten years.
Sober fish in Ohio.
Ohioans were apparently very concerned about the sobriety of their fish, and went as far as to make a law stating that it is illegal to give alcohol to a fish.
Room temperature beer only.
Up until October 2018, if you wanted to crack open a cold beer in Oklahoma, you would be in for a surprise. All beers, except those of the lowest-alcohol variety, had to be sold at room temperature. Thankfully for the Sooners, this law was updated.
Buying alcohol isn’t easy.
Having a party? If you wanted to stock up on beer, liquor and wine, you might be journeying to three separate stores in Pennsylvania. Six packs were sold exclusively by bars, cases by beer distributors, and wine and liquor at state stores. Not to mention that sales were forbidden on Sundays, and no gas stations or grocery stores were permitted to sell any alcohol. Pennsylvanians still can’t get beer and bourbon in the same spot, but thankfully many of the other ridiculous old-timey rules have been lightened up in recent years.
Thou shalt not see cocktails being made.
Until 2017, Utah restaurants were required to have what became known as “zion curtains” — partitions that separated bartenders from customers. The barriers were once thought to keep eliminate the glamour of bartending and keep kids in the ultra religious state from being lured to the craft.
An old ban on brewing.
In Texas, the entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned because it contains a formula for making beer at home.
Ladies’ night is not legal.
Courts in Wisconsin (and actually California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, too!) have ruled that ladies’ night discounts are unlawful gender-based price discrimination. The legislation was enacted after two men complained that women were getting free drink tickets and they weren’t.
Flying in the U.S.
You can’t pour your own drink.
Lots of people prefer to take off or land with a bit of a buzz. Although passengers are allowed to bring mini bottles onboard the aircraft, the FAA prohibits them from pouring it out for themselves. Passengers must ask a flight attendant to serve them spirits or face fines of up to $5,000 if caught.
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