On Thursday, the Center for Alcohol Policy will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Arizona’s vote on September 5, 1933, to ratify the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution.
On December 5, 1933, Prohibition ended in the United States when 36 states (a three-fourths majority) ratified the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, thereby repealing the 18th Amendment which began Prohibition in 1920. For 80 years, the United States and its citizens have benefited from a state-based system of alcohol regulation, put in place following ratification of the 21st Amendment, which gives each state the primary authority to enact and enforce alcohol laws consistent with the desires and needs of its citizens.
“It’s important for citizens to understand that the repeal of the failed, one-size-fits-all policy of national Prohibition was not the end of the story – it’s where the story of today’s successful system began,” said Jerry Oliver, CAP Advisory Council member and former director of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. “The 21st Amendment recognized that alcohol is a unique product that is best controlled by individual states, and it provided a solution that continues to be effective today.”
“The state-based system of alcohol regulation has been extremely effective at supporting robust marketplace competition while at the same time promoting public safety,” Oliver continued. “America does not experience large problems with bootlegging, counterfeit products or a black market, which were common during national Prohibition and have proven deadly in other parts of the world that lack an effective regulatory system for alcohol.”
For more information about the history and origin of America’s state-based alcohol regulatory system, please visit www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org to learn about the Center’s republication of Toward Liquor Control, written in 1933 to help guide alcohol policy in the states post-Prohibition.