New Jersey teenagers are probably psyched about a new bill that proposes to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18 in the Garden State. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) argues that if you can vote, serve in the military, or get married at 18, it should also be your right to crack a cold one at 18, too.
But the change is far from a sure bet: A big impediment to most states even considering a lower drinking age is the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. The 1984 federal law withholds a percentage of highway funding for states that allow persons under the age of 21 to purchase and publicly possess alcoholic beverages. So even though drinking age can be determined by state lawmakers, there's plenty of pressure from the federal government to stay in line with the national 21-and-older policy. If you want to take a deeper dive on the ramifications of the National Drinking Age Act (besides college students feeling like it was out to ruin their lives), read this.
And that's not the only reason underage Jersey teens shouldn't get too excited. In addition to the millions of dollars in highway funding at stake, there's the fear of having young and impaired drivers on the road (MADD will definitely have something to say about this), which means this bill will assuredly face an uphill battle. And another reality check: CBS Local reminds us that, “The next step for the bill will be a committee, but it could be years before the bill ever becomes law.”