Drinking age in New Jersey
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was a big deal for many of the states, many of which had had lower drinking ages prior to its passage. Most of the states had actually kept their drinking ages from when the 26th Amendment passed, which set the age of majority at 18. That was the new age in many states when people could drink alcohol, because it was also the age when people could vote, go to war, buy cigarettes, star in adult films, and do just about everything else that adults could do. However, it wasn’t fair that many people couldn’t drink unless they were 21, according to what some people thought, and there are still a lot of people that think that way. There are people in every state that are trying to overturn that drinking age law, and there are a lot that say it’s just like Prohibition for people who are under 21.
Let’s take a look at what the several states did in reaction to the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. First of all, it was a law that stipulated that people couldn’t publicly possess and purchase alcohol unless they were 21 and up. It didn’t say anything about drinking. Therefore, a lot of states set their own allowances for when people could drink. There are nine states that said that minors can’t drink under any circumstances. There are 41 states, however, that make exceptions for when underage minors can drink, under certain circumstances. There are a lot of folks out there who believe that underage minors should be able to drink if their parents allow it, or if it’s for religious purposes, for example.
It’s important to examine the history of New Jersey in regards to drinking age. It shows that states and people groups can have attitudes that are shaped and changed by the times. For example, the large majority of automobile accidents in the 1970s and 1980s was something that was causing people to want to do something about the high amount of drinking and driving that was causing many of those accidents. That’s why the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed. Before 1880, there was no minimum drinking age. After 1880, the drinking age was 18. However, the penalties were only against businesses. After Prohibition ended, the legal drinking age was 21. It was lowered to 18 in 1973, and this was with the passage of the 26th Amendment. It was then raised to 19 in 1980, and it was again raised to 21 in 1983. The legal drinking age remained at 21 after the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.
There are so many allowances for underage drinking in New Jersey. There are all sorts of exceptions. For example, as long as a parent approves, people under the age of 18 can drink. There is also drinking for religious purposes in the state. There is also drinking for medical purposes. New Jersey is definitely not one of those states that prohibits drinking for all circumstances, whatsoever, like New Hampshire, for example.