Center for Alcohol Policy Marks Constitution Day

Educational Resources Highlight 21st Amendment as Origin of America’s State-Based Regulatory System

Alexandria, Va. – This Constitution Day, celebrated annually on Sept. 17, the Center for Alcohol Policy is highlighting its educational resources that explain the 21st Amendment’s role in establishing America’s state-based regulatory system.

The Center for Alcohol Policy video The Origins of America’s State-Based Regulatory System illustrates the origin of today’s alcohol regulatory system, which works to balance alcohol control with an orderly and competitive marketplace.

The video features Center for Alcohol Policy advisors Brannon Denning, associate dean professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and Jerry Oliver, Sr., former Arizona alcohol regulator and chief of police for Detroit, Richmond and Pasadena.

“The 21st Amendment was important because not only did it repeal Prohibition but it also returned control over alcohol policy where it belongs, to state and local governments who can determine what kinds of policies serve the needs of their citizens best,” Denning said.

The video describes the Center’s republication of the book Toward Liquor Control, which outlined how states should regulate the sale and serving of alcohol following the repeal of Prohibition, and how the book is still helping shape policy today.

“It gives the tenets for why alcohol should be controlled at the local level, why states and local jurisdiction are to have the final say as to how alcohol is accessed and how it’s distributed,” said Oliver.

“It’s clear that what’s acceptable in Nevada isn’t necessarily acceptable in Utah,” added Denning. “The 21st Amendment and the flexibility of state-based regulation allows those local differences to be taken into account.”

Another educational resource that explains the 21st Amendment’s role in establishing America’s state-based alcohol regulatory system and offers tips for those charged with enforcing state laws today is the brief guide, “Alcohol Beverage Control: The Basics for New State Alcohol Regulators,” written by former alcohol regulator Roger B. Johnson, a 38-year veteran of the Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement Unit of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, and published by the Center.

The Center also supported the development of a “Toast the Constitution!” lesson plan. Through a partnership with the Bill of Rights Institute, this resource helps educators teach students about the origins of the 18th Amendment, the individuals and groups who fought for and against Prohibition, and the events that led to its repeal with the passage of the 21st Amendment.

To learn more about the Center for Alcohol Policy and its programs, please visit



The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501 c (3) organization whose mission is to educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation.  By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption.  For more information, visit or follow the Center on Twitter at


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Center for Alcohol Policy
277 S. Washington Street Suite 500-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090