Alcohol may only be sold or served by persons between the ages of 18 and 20 in licensed establishments where the sale or service of intoxicating alcohol is part of the minor`s employment and where such minor employees are properly supervised to ensure that minors do not consume the intoxicating alcohol. These exceptions have led to a complex set of laws in which local jurisdictions, states, and federal regulations determine who is allowed to distribute, buy, possess, and consume alcohol in a particular state. “It`s unbelievable – what do we say, parents?” said David J. Hanson, professor emeritus of sociology at SUNY Potsdam, in an interview. Hanson has been studying alcohol policy for more than 40 years, and he says sometimes conflicting alcohol regulations cause confusion and “legal mischief” for minors. It`s no secret that Florida is a well-known party destination. But Florida is also known for strictly enforcing the MLDA of 21. You`ll find people stating that they got a card for the first time in 20 years by visiting a theme park at many travel sites. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess alcohol in this state.
Some states are strict on the alcohol consumption of minors and may also have special laws to determine the blood alcohol level (“BAC”) at which a person under the age of 21 is considered drunk. If you are a minor, these values are often low or set to zero. In general, if you`re under the age of 21, it doesn`t take much alcohol to bring your blood alcohol levels up to levels set in many states. Low levels as well as some severe penalties are introduced to deter the consumption of minors. All these ambiguities and the legal confusion it creates could also have real consequences. If people don`t understand what the laws say, they don`t know if they`re going to be broken. “I suspect a lot of people are convicted of crimes they didn`t commit because of the confusion,” Hanson says. This is one of the seemingly iron rules of adolescence: in the United States, you can`t legally drink until you`re 21. Of course, our laws on the consumption of minors are regularly ignored. More than half of 20-year-old Americans have tried alcohol at some point in their lives, according to the latest figures from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. 4. for medical purposes: The consumption of alcohol by minors in some states is allowed for medical purposes.
Each state sets its own specific requirements for what is considered legal. Could the water become muddier? Of course they could. In addition to exceptions for parental consent or drinking alcohol at home, there are many other legal implications. According to the nonpartisan non-profit website procon.org, 26 states allow minors to drink as part of religious services. 16 others allow minors to consume alcohol for “medical” purposes, although these provisions are likely to protect the use of alcohol-containing medicines such as cough syrup. Cooking school students can drink for educational purposes in 11 states, and people under the age of 21 can legally drink as part of government or police research in four states — for example, to go undercover and have a drink with a suspect at a bar. U.S. alcohol laws regarding the minimum age to buy have changed over time. In colonial America, there was usually no drinking age, and alcohol consumption by young teenagers was common, even in taverns.
 In post-revolutionary America, this laxity gradually changed due to religious sentiments (embodied in the abstinence movement) and a growing recognition of the dangers of alcohol in the medical community.  Recent history is listed in the table below. Unless otherwise stated, if different categories of alcohol have different minimum age limits for purchase, the age indicated below will be set at the lowest specified age (e.g.