Once you’re 21, drinking is legal everywhere in the U.S. Obviously, Harding has rules and regulations prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, but the national government doesn’t really legislate alcohol sales beyond that point.
What I find ironic in all of this is that despite the consumption of alcohol being legal everywhere, purchasing it isn’t.
According to www.thecabin.net, 37 of Arkansas’ 75 counties are dry and “a dry county is one in which the government forbids the sale of alcoholic beverages … However some dry counties do allow sales of alcohol by the drink from establishments such as restaurants that have obtained a private club license.”
By restricting alcohol sales in dry counties, those counties are losing tax revenue and the wet counties are taking in extra. People are going to drink whether it is a wet or dry county; they’ll just travel to wet counties when they want to purchase alcohol.
A main argument for keeping counties dry is the idea that it reduces drunk driving, DUIs and accidents. However, this is not actually the case. According to a study conducted by David Hanson, a sociology professor at State University of NY, 39,000 alcohol-related accidents in Kentucky, “it was found that a higher proportion of dry county residents are involved in such accidents.” The study suggested that residents of dry counties must drive further from their homes to obtain alcohol and drink at locations further from their homes, leaving more time to get in accidents.
In fact, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, dry counties have a fatality rate in drunk driving accidents that is more than three times higher than in wet counties.
So clearly, many people who live in dry counties still want to drink, so why not provide it at a more convenient location? Why remain dry when White County could be collecting thousands of tax dollars from alcohol sales? Instead of missing out on tax revenue, the county should be taking advantage of this opportunity.
In 2011 (the most recent year with data available), Arkansas collected $51,112 from state and local alcoholic beverage tax revenue, according to www.taxpolicycenter.org. According to a study of the wet-dry issue in Arkansas in The Pennsylvania Geographer, wet and dry counties are often adjacent and beverage sales outlets are often located immediately across county lines. This is because alcohol vendors in the adjacent counties know that they will gain business by marketing to those in dry counties.
People are going to buy alcohol whether you approve of it or not, so it just makes sense to have it (and more importantly the economic benefits) in your own county.
For those who believe it is wrong to consume any alcohol whatsoever, then just continue to not purchase it. It doesn’t have to affect you in any way shape or form except for the fact that you can benefit from the increased tax revenue in the county. The benefits really do outweigh the concerns.