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 This law remained in effect until September of 1849, when the territorial legislature repealed it.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In the summer of 1933, the voters repealed Oregon's constitutional prohibition amendment, and shortly thereafter Oregon ratified the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution, repealing national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.
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