Alcohol Regulation


The impact of extensive regulation is no different than that of outright prohibition--just to a lesser extent.

Drinking in public is a harmless novelty, which places Las Vegas at a considerable advantage to the rest of the country. Open container laws have a negative impact on overall tourism and serve no public interest on the strip, Fremont Street, or in other pedestrian friendly areas. The real harm open container laws create is by severely hurting local businesses. The intention of these laws is to benefit politically connected interests like major casinos at the expense of small businesses and consumers.

Alcohol prohibition is widely accepted to have spawned criminal syndicates, random violence, corruption, and widespread disrespect for the law. But the aim of some legislators is to rework prohibition so that we can restrict, prevent, or control people's alcohol consumption, without regard for the unintended consequences. Open container laws, legal last calls, mandatory alcohol exclusion insurance laws, blue laws, and liquor licensing restrictions have all of the same effects of prohibition to varying degrees. Piecemeal prohibition is harmful in proportion to its share of wholesale prohibition.

Nevada is also one of the only states to prohibit alcoholic products in excess of 160 proof. This ban serves no discernible purpose, and only harm consumers and distributors.

All levels of governments in Nevada should repeal open container laws for anyone who is not noticeably intoxicated.

Lower the Drinking Age

The government of the United States considers 18 year olds to be responsible enough to decide whether to risk their lives in combat, but not responsible enough to decide whether to drink. Nevada could greatly benefit from additional revenues derived from creating a new market in tourism. Additionally, adults are considered to be 18 years of age. Turning 18 provides a person the rights and responsibilities of adulthood to vote, get married, enter into contracts, serve on juries, join the military be criminally charged as adults. To adults between the ages of 18 and 20, those who in the eyes of the law are, in every other respect legal adults, it is essentially the same as outright prohibition, with all of the same results.

Under the US Constitution, determining the legal drinking age is a state matter and Congress has no authority. On July 17, 1984 the National Minimum Drinking Act of 1984 was passed by Congress. This law required all states to legislate and enforce the age of 21 as the minimum age to purchase and publicly possess alcoholic beverages. Any state that was found not enforcing this law would be subjected to a 10% decrease in the annual federal highway apportionment for that state. Libertarians feel the new revenues would far outweigh the decrease in annual funding from the federal government.

Many productive, civilized countries manage with a lower drinking age: no minimum in China or Portugal, 14 in Switzerland, 16 in most of Europe.

Eliminate the minimum drinking age, and kids could learn all about alcohol long before they turned 16 and got their driver's license. We should prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol in the same way we prepare them to operate a motor vehicle; to exercise the full privileges of adulthood so long as they demonstrate their ability to observe the law. Alcohol is a reality in the lives of young adults. We can either try to change the reality - which has been our principal focus since 1984, by imposing Prohibition on young adults 18 to 20 - or we can create the safest possible environment for the world as it exists.