North Dakota Bill Would Let Military Members Under 21 Consume Alcohol


The drinking age in North Dakota, like every other state in the union, is 21 years. But a bill introduced by Rep. Andy Maragos (R-Minot) would change that, letting members of the military between ages 18 and 21 drink on base if they have the permission of their superiors.

The bill is HB1225:



The idea that Americans can legally enter into contracts, buy guns, join the military and fight in wars, and vote yet can’t legally have a beer is a common argument against the age-21 drinking laws. No doubt Maragos is hoping to build on that argument, but why lower the drinking age only for military members?

If we’re going to lower the drinking age, we should do so for all Americans.

I will say, though, that lowering the drinking age would likely help alleviate what problems the military may have with their young recruits abusing alcohol. Our ridiculous, puritanical drinking laws postpone lawful introduction to alcohol until well into adulthood, relegating earlier drinking to furtive and illegal parties.

Drinking on college campuses is a big problem. Drinking is something of a problem in the military as well. The common denominator in both instances is that we have large numbers of young people who are taking their first steps into adulthood without having any legal experience with alcohol.

Is it any wonder that so many young Americans have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol?

I don’t like bills that carve out special treatment for selected classes, but generally speaking I think America would be better off in the long run lowering or even eliminating the drinking age.