Drinking age in Virginia
It was a difficult time in American politics when the national minimum age for the public purchase and possession of alcohol was set at 21. It was three years older than the age of majority, and a lot of people were pretty rankled about that. It was hard enough to go to war, vote, and do all the other adult things out there that there were to do, but to not be able to drink at all during those initial trials and tribulations of life was very difficult indeed.
A lot of people were strongly against the law when it was being thought out, but the federal government eventually bent the states to their will, and all the 50 states had a minimum age for public purchase and possession at 21. It wasn’t the legal drinking age, though. That could be set by the 50 states individually, or at least they could make exceptions to the rule. There are several instances in the 50 states where there are exceptions to the general rule.
There were several groups that came out strongly against the law because it wasn’t fair to the people who were under 21 who had also reached the age of majority. If people could go to war and fight, and if they could vote and star in adult movies, then why couldn’t the possess alcohol? It’s important to note, however, that the law didn’t stipulate what the actual drinking age was. It merely said that the public possession and purchase age had to be at least 21 years of age or older. It’s interesting to note that several states have exceptions to the 21-year-old age limit. There are a number of states that have allowances for people to drink who have the consent of parents, or are drinking for religious purposes, for example.
There was no known drinking age prior to the passage of Prohibition in 1919. Once Prohibition was repealed, the drinking age was raised to 21. It was lowered to 18 for beer and wine after the passage of the 26th Amendment. It was kept at 21 for liquor, however. It was raised to 19 in 1981 for consumption off-premises. It was raised to 19 for all beer in 1983. It was raised to 21 in 1985. It has been steady at 21 ever since the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. It allows drinking on private, non alcohol-selling premises with a parent’s consent. That’s a pretty liberal look at the underage drinking question because a number of states only allow drinking for religious purposes, or they don’t allow it at all. Virginia is one of a number of states that allow drinking as long as a parent gives consent. That seems like the only fair or right thing to do, given parents’ desire to have control over how and whether their children drink or not. Some parents like to give alcohol in the home to prevent serious binge drinking later on, for instance.