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Mississippi’s alcohol laws: behind the times?

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

When it comes to alcohol laws in Mississippi things can get confusing very easily. Russ Latino who is the State Director of American’s for Prosperity said that while the alcohol discussion in Mississippi has evolved through the years, he still feels as if the state is stuck in the early 1900’s.

“The rest of the country ended prohibition in 1933, and Mississippi never got the memo,” said Latino. “We still have a statute on the books that re-endorses prohibition and then allows counties or municipalities to opt out of prohibition.”

Latino said he suggests lawmakers look to reverse the law and repeal prohibition in Mississippi and then let each county and municipality decide whether they would continue to be wet or dry. While this may seem like the same type of law that Mississippi currently has in regards to alcohol, the effects would allow for less confusion when it comes to wet and dry cities and counties.

Currently, in Mississippi, there can be a wet city in a dry county or vice versa. Latino said this creates a confusing map of lines in the state where alcohol is and is not allowed. This year there has been a bill introduced that would lessen some of the confusion surrounding transportation of alcohol. In addition, Latino said that technically someone is committing a crime if they are transporting alcohol to a wet county but have to go through a dry county to get there. He added that lawmakers need to look at the alcohol conversation on a larger scale.

“We are behind the rest of the states by a large clip when it comes to alcohol policy,” Latino said. “The end result is a hodgepodge that makes absolutely no sense. It would be much better to have a larger conversation about what do we want our alcohol policy in Mississippi to look like.”

In the end, Latino said he wants lawmakers to consider one question: “Are we to a point where we are ok with consumers, who are adults, making choices for themselves?”

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