Did you know that the National Minimum Drinking Age Act which is 21 as we know, was only passed in 1984? That doesn't seem that long. But I digress.

As I recently learned while in Wisconsin at a wedding that that national law doesn't necessarily mean someone underage can't drink alcohol. It all depends on certain exceptions state by state.

So in order for states to receive certain types of federal funding according to Alcohol.org, each mush adhere to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act however each state can have exceptions to this law when it comes to minors drinking and the four main ones are the following:

  • Parent/Guardian Consent
  • Religious Reasons
  • Medical Reasons
  • Culinary Class

As a matter of fact, surprisingly at least to me, there are only five states that don't have a single one of these exceptions which means underage drinking is prohibited no matter what in these states.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • New Hampshire
  • West Virginia

For the most part, the family exception rule is why teens are drinking either at home, a restaurant, or wedding for example and even those vary depending on the state.

However, according to the Drinking Age Pro Con website, not all states have the family exception law and according to the Vine Pair website, the following states allow teens to drink but the family exception law isn't on the books rather it's for medical, religious, or culinary education reasons.

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D.C.

As with all laws, things can change state by state with new or altered laws so always double-check.

Click here to learn more about what each exception law means per state.

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