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The 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act

 

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The 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act, [23 U.S.C. § 158], requires that States prohibit persons under 21 years of age from purchasing or publicly possessing alcoholic beverages as a condition of receiving State highway funds. A Federal regulation that interprets the Act excludes from the definition of "public possession," possession "for an established religious purpose; when accompanied by a parent, spouse or legal guardian age 21 or older; for medical purposes when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital or medical institution; in private clubs or establishments; or to the sale, handling, transport, or service in dispensing of any alcoholic beverage pursuant to lawful employment of a person under the age of twenty-one years by a duly licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of alcoholic beverages",
[23 C.F.R. § 1208.3].
 
FEDERAL CITATIONS AND RELEVANT TEXT EXCERPTS 
23 U.S.C. § 158. National minimum drinking age. 
 
(a) Withholding of Funds for Noncompliance.
(1) In general. The Secretary shall withhold 10 per centum of the amount required to be apportioned to any State under each of sections 104(b)(1), 104(b)(3), and 104(b)(4) of this title on the first day of each fiscal year after the second fiscal year beginning after September 30, 1985, in which the purchase or public possession in such State of any alcoholic beverage by a person who is less than twenty-one years of age is lawful.
(2) State grandfather law as complying. If, before the later of (A) October 1, 1986, or (B) the tenth day following the last day of the first session the legislature of a State convenes after the date of the enactment of this paragraph, such State has in effect a law which makes unlawful the purchase and public possession in such State of any alcoholic beverage by a person who is less than 21 years of age (other than any person who is 18 years of age or older on the day preceding the effective date of such law and at such time could lawfully purchase or publicly possess any alcoholic beverage in such State), such State shall be deemed to be in compliance with paragraph (1) in each fiscal year in which such law is in effect.
(b) Effect of Withholding of Funds. No funds withheld under this section from apportionment to any State after September 30, 1988, shall be available for apportionment to that State.
(c) Alcoholic Beverage Defined. As used in this section, the term "alcoholic beverage" means:
(1) beer as defined in section 5052(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986,
(2) wine of not less than one-half of 1 per centum of alcohol by volume, or
(3) distilled spirits as defined in section 5002(a)(8) of such Code.
23 C.F.R. § 1208.3. Definitions.
As used in this part:
Alcoholic beverage means beer, distilled spirits and wine containing one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume. Beer includes, but is not limited to, ale, lager, porter, stout, sake, and other similar fermented beverages brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part or from any substitute therefore. Distilled spirits include alcohol, ethanol or spirits or wine in any form, including all dilutions and mixtures thereof from whatever process produced.
 
Public possession means the possession of any alcoholic beverage for any reason, including consumption on any street or highway or in any public place or in any place open to the public (including a club which is de facto open to the public). The term does not apply to the possession of alcohol for an established religious purpose; when accompanied by a parent, spouse or legal guardian age 21 or older; for medical purposes when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital or medical institution; in private clubs or establishments; or to the sale, handling, transport, or service in dispensing of any alcoholic beverage pursuant to lawful employment of a person under the age of twenty-one years by a duly licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of alcoholic beverages.
 
Purchase means to acquire by the payment of money or other consideration.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services USA.gov - Government Made Easy