Mississippi officially abolished the ban on alcohol possession, almost 90 years after alcohol was legalized in the United States. This writes ABC News.
A new law allowing possession of alcohol in every County in Mississippi, was signed on Tuesday, June 30, Governor Jonathan Tate Reeves. It will enter into force on 1 January 2021.
Under current law, the Mississippi is still considered completely “dry” state. However, local governments can conduct elections, in which residents can decide whether they want to allow the use and possession of alcohol within its district or not. Most districts voted “for”. In the state, only 29 of the 82 counties still “dry”.
The new bill does not allow the sale of alcohol in every County. The inhabitants of each district should vote to repeal the “dry law”.
The Mississippi was long and complicated “relationship” with alcohol throughout the state’s history. Although the government has undertaken many attempts to regulate the consumption and sale of alcohol, he also is an outstanding cultural symbol that appears in many works of famous writers and musicians of the Mississippi.
William Faulkner, for example, is known for his love of whisky and an aversion to alcohol prohibition. The bootlegger was an important character in his novel “Sanctuary”. In many Blues songs written in Mississippi, referred to the alcohol, including the version of John Lee hooker “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and “Sittin’ here Drinkin'” of muddy waters.
Attempts to ban alcohol in Mississippi, mostly led by members of the Christian Church, began in the early 1800-ies.
Member of the Committee on the ban of the Convention, Bishop Holloway in 1878, mentioned alcohol as a “terrible evil” that forced good people to commit sins.
The history of alcohol in Mississippi
In 1839 a law was passed that prohibited buy at one time less than a gallon (3,7 liters) of alcohol, which had a great impact on the local taverns. Offenders arrested for a period from one week to three months and they had to pay a fine of from $200 to $500.
Public reaction to this new law was frantic. The legislator Henry Foot was burnt by Jackson for his work on the law, according to the book “the Ban on alcohol in Mississippi” in 1917. The law was repealed less than three years later.
Dozens of laws on abstinence from alcohol were adopted in the legislature of Mississippi in 1800 years, including one in 1873, which prescribed that if any government officials will be “found drunk or in a state of intoxication from alcohol”, they will be charged with violation of the law and they will be removed from office.
Mississippi was the first state that adopted some form of prohibition in 1908, about a decade before the 18th Amendment (“prohibition”) began to operate throughout the United States. Mississippi was the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment.
In 1933, when the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the Abolition of the “dry law”) has terminated the ban on alcohol, it was ratified by 36 States for 288 days. However, in Mississippi this process has stalled for decades.
Alcohol has become a major controversial political issue in Mississippi, according to a former official of the late ed Perry.
“The worst question you could ask is, “How do you feel about whiskey”,” said Perry.
Talking about the legalization of whiskey in the early 1950-ies of the legislator and judges Soggy Suite nowadays is quite well-known. When asked how he refers to whiskey, Sweet did not directly answer the question, presenting the two sides of the argument.
“If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s potion, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, destroys the mind, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread out of the mouth of small children, then of course I’m against it” — began, Sweet.
He then changed the course of the speech.
“But if when you say whisky, you mean the drink of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, it fills their hearts with song and laughter, if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, then certainly I am for it,” he said.
In 1966 Mississippi became the last state to repeal the law banning alcohol throughout the state and adopted the current law that allows districts to decide whether they want to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages. The distribution of alcohol in Mississippi is currently controlled by the state. The Department of alcoholic beverage control of the Mississippi imports, stores and sells 2 850 000 boxes of spirits and wines.