In the US, 18-year-olds can’t buy alcohol anywhere. Anywhere.
They can drink alcohol in some states. Believe it or not quite a few states allow minors to consume alcohol with parents’ consent in a private home. And even without parental consent in some places. Laws are confusing.
But Arizona has, up till now, been pretty strict. You can’t drink if you’re under 21 (unless it’s for religious or medical purposes), and you can’t serve alcohol unless you’re at least 19 years old.
Now an Arizona legislator would like to lower the Arizona drink serving age to 18.
The rationale of HB2947 is a time-honored one: at 18 you’re old enough to fight and die for your country. Shouldn’t you be old enough to make a living serving drinks at a restaurant?
While Rep. Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler) considers 18-year-olds legal adults, not everyone is comfortable with the idea. For one thing, there’s a bit more to serving drinks than placing glasses on a table. A server has to be able to judge when a customer is impaired and be able to cut him or her off. Some people are not so sure 18 is old enough to be able to handle that responsibility.
The counter-argument is that 18 is an important age to be entering the workforce, and server jobs are good opportunities for young people looking to support themselves. A substantial number of jobs are now closed to 18-year-olds because they involve alcohol.
The bill gets a hearing today before the House Commerce Committee.