Drinking age in New Hampshire
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was a game-changer for the public possession and purchase of alcohol in the United States. It set a minimum age of 21 across all the 50 states. The 50 states had to comply, or they would lose 10% of their federal highway construction funds. It was a real challenge for the states not to comply with it. Eventually, all 50 of them did. Many people were angry because the age of majority, the age when people go to war and can smoke cigarettes, and can do just about everything else that an adult can do, was set at 18 by the 26th Amendment. That is the age when people can vote too. However, the 50 states would now all have a minimum public purchase and possession of alcohol age of 21. That irked a lot of people, and there were several who were up in arms against it. Nowadays, in the 50 states, there are proponents and detractors of the law. There are a lot of people trying to change it. It’s just not fair, they say, for people to have to have wait until they’re 21 to consume alcohol when they can go to war and fight for their country when they’re 18.
Here’s the catch though. The law does not actually stipulate the drinking age. It’s merely the age for public purchase and possession. That means that a teenager can’t just stroll into a convenience store and buy alcohol. However, they can consume it, under certain conditions, depending on what their state says. For example, in some states, minors can drink alcohol when their parents are present. In other states, people can drink alcohol when it’s for religious purposes.
Let’s examine the history of New Hampshire’s drinking ages. There was no known drinking age before Prohibition was passed in 1919. It was raised to 21 after Prohibition. However, it was lowered to 18 to 1973, and then it was raised again to 20 in 1973, and it was raised to 21 in 1985, to comply with the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.
Let’s examine the exceptions to New Hampshire’s state law regarding the basic drinking age. Underage consumption of alcohol is totally forbidden under all circumstances, in all cases. Anyone who’s underage and intoxicated is guilty of a violation. Underage possession of alcohol is completely forbidden, except in cases where the underage person is working as a bartender, host, server, or something of that nature, serving alcohol on alcohol-selling, licensed premises.
It doesn’t seem that New Hampshire is very lenient when it comes to the underage drinking age. They seem to have no exceptions for drinking underage. It’s not really fair though, because sometimes people need to drink for religious sacraments. It doesn’t seem fair that some people would be prohibited from drinking, even if it stipulates it in their religious guidelines. These people might want to move to another state where alcohol consumption is allowed for religious purposes.