Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The repeal of Prohibition turns 75

This Friday, Dec. 5 marks the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, ending the 13-year stretch when alcohol was banned from coast to coast.

In January 1920, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect making the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol illegal nationally.

But, many years before that - even before Oregon was a state, Oregonians tried to control the manufacture and sale of liquor.

The Anti-Saloon League, the leading prohibitionist organization in the early 20th century.

In June of 1844, Oregon's provisional government enacted a prohibition law designed to “prevent the introduction, sale and distillation of ardent spirits in Oregon.” This law remained in effect until September of 1849, when the territorial legislature repealed it.

Rather than total prohibition, Oregon passed various laws in the following decades designed to regulate liquor sales. These acts tended to specify certain licensing criteria for the selling of liquor, and in some cases banned the sale of alcohol in areas near construction projects and churches, or to minors and the intoxicated.

On November 3, 1914, five years prior to national prohibition, the voters of Oregon passed an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting the manufacture, sale or advertisement of intoxicating liquor. In 1915 the Legislative Assembly, via the Anderson Act, enacted legislation implementing statewide prohibition. The law became effective on January 1, 1916. Less than a year later, in November of 1916, the state's voters defeated a proposed state constitutional amendment to permit the sale of beer. In 1917 the Oregon Supreme Court upheld prohibition in a challenge to the new law's constitutionality.

In the summer of 1933, the voters repealed Oregon's constitutional prohibition amendment, and shortly thereafter Oregon ratified the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution, repealing national prohibition.

Almost immediately following the repeal of national prohibition, Governor Julius Meier began efforts that, by the end of the year resulted in the formation of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, or OLCC, which continues to promote the public interest through the responsible sales and service of alcoholic beverages.


  1. Once again, OLC proves it does not have the public's best interest in mind. You spend millions of our tax dollars on enforcing anti-American laws (impeding my right to a pursuit of happiness) and create fake laws (ie. separation of beer and vodka in a store??) so you can harass and fine innocent business owners and now you are spending more money promoting programs that are proven to be wrong (campaigning to curb youth drinking). Several independent studies show that children who drink moderately when in their early teens and even small amounts as children are far less likely to develop drinking problems later in life. Look at Europe, for example. They allow very young kids to drink wine with dsinner and they have a fraction of the alcohol related problems of the US. And you force people to make their children not drink in the safety of their own homes. Completely ass-backwards. (Also, making liquor stores close early so people are forced to drive to bars for alcohol creates more people drinking and driving, does it not).

    OLC is clearly run by the Mafia and it needs to be eliminated. Millions of tax dollars spent on corrupt OLC executives with no tangible results. It should be illegal to prevent people from expressing their right to a pursuit of happiness (ie. drinking and drugs).

    Government is always passing laws that are unfounded by science (ie. hands-free cell phones are proven to be more dangerous than hand-held).
    Please do some research before you shove your retarded laws down our throats.

    A concerned American.

  2. I guess the control of alcohol manufacturing before was not well-explained to the people so many are against it. Now, public safety is one major reason why the control over selling and serving such is implemented. It's normal to have those in favor and not over this law but the important thing is, the commission is able to practice what is required from them, make people safe from sales and service of such beverages.