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In the USA treatment of alcohol is by state and I have lived under several different regimes. In my youth in Oklahoma anything stronger than 3.2% beer was illegal. My father's favorite sister, a spinster schoolteacher, lived in Coffeyville, KS, about 40 miles from our home in the now ghost town of Whizbang. We made a few trips a year to visit Aunt Laura and my father would bring home a fifth of 190 Proof, which he used mostly, as far as I knew, in 'hot toddies' for 'medicinal' use. Of course we all knew who the local bootlegger was. He had a peg leg. But my father didn't use him. This was the law until the mid '60s.

Will Rodgers had always said that Oklahomans would vote dry just so long as they could stagger to the polls. So in the early '60s Joe Cannon became the new head of the Highway Patrol and began a rigorous enforcement of alcohol laws. A year later legalization was on the ballot and voters went to the polls stone cold sober and voted for repeal of prohibition. But alcohol was not an issue for me at this time. I was far too studious.

In Aug of '63 I moved to Tuscon and enrolled in grad school. I turned 21 just before Christmas and duly obtained by 21st birthday card from the state. It was at that time that I began to join friends at a local bar, usually around 10 PM. We would take turns buying pitchers of 3.2 beer for the table and would drink until closing at 1 AM. To my memory stronger alcohol was not available legally, But Nogales, Mexico was only an hour away, though many came back instead with a case of XXX Oscuro beer.

I moved to California in Aug of '67 and quickly discovered that drinking beer at Tuscon rates in the humidity of Santa Monica just did not work. But high quality marijuana was regularly, if illegally, available and I was gifted a two ounce baggie of 'Ice Pack'. Though alcohol of any strength was available Cannabis became my drug of choice except for social occasions with wine or beer. Ten years or so later I discovered Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon of surprising quality in inexpensive half gallon jugs. I found it went well with weed when listening to music, but it detracted from my productivity.

We retired to Arkansas in 2006, but it had been decades since either alcohol or cannabis had been issues. Here liquor is available by county choice. Baxter is a growing county pitching itself as a retirement destination and is 'wet'. But, since 2018 and a bone infection in my foot which resulted in kidney damage alcohol has been out of the question.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 11th, 2022 at 06:32:16 PM EST
Similarly in Colorado, a left-over from Prohibition was the three two beer law. Under that law, people aged 18-21 were restricted to 3.2% "near beer," and those over 21 were allowed regular liquor.

Note that 18-21 corresponds pretty closely to the age range for undergraduate college students. The result was that college towns had 3.2 bars and clubs that catered to the students.

An advantage of 3.2% beer is that it is tough to get really drunk on it. That gives foolish kids an opportunity to do grown-up stuff while staying fairly sober. Especially if it is doled out in 7 ounce pony cans!

My experience was that while it was possible for undergrads to get high octane distilled liquor if they worked at it, it wasn't really considered worth it. The punch at a frat party would be high test, but most of the time people just got Coors 3.2% beer. And lots of people over age 21 drank it voluntarily.

The age restrictions were rescinded a couple of decades ago. Grocery stores were limited to selling 3.2% beer until a few years ago; now they sell regular beer which has been tough on the liquor stores.

But then we legalized marijuana so it probably averages out.

by asdf on Thu Jan 13th, 2022 at 03:15:42 AM EST
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