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NATIONAL MINIMUM DRINKING AGE ACT OF 1984

Originally posted by Michael Buchanan on in Florida Criminal Law

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 required all states to raise their minimum “purchase” and “public possession” of alcohol age to twenty-one.  States that did not comply faced a reduction in highway funds under the Federal Highway Aid Act.  The national law specifically prohibited the purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages.  The federal law did not prohibit all persons ages eighteen to twenty-one from drinking. The term “public possession” in the federal law was strictly defined and did not apply to possession for the following:

  • An established religious purpose, when accompanied by a parent, spouse or legal guardian age 21 or older;
  • Medical purposes when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital or medical institution;
  • In private clubs or establishments;
  • In the course of lawful employment by a duly licensed manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer.”

The State of Florida, however, in response to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act implemented a prohibition that does not contain an exception for “private clubs or establishments”.

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