Liquor Control after Repeal

October 4, 1933

Report Outline
Probable Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment on December 5
Wet and Dry Status of the States After Repeal
New State Laws for Control of Liquor Traffic
Question of Federal and State Liquor. Taxes
Special Focus

Probable Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment on December 5

Repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment will take place, it may now be predicted with virtual certainty, on December 5, nine months and one-half following submission to the states of the Twenty-first, or repeal, amendment on February 20, 1933. Virginia became on October 3 the 32nd state to vote in unbroken succession for repeal of federal prohibition. Florida is expected to take similar action on October 10. On November 7 the voters of six more states—Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah—will go to the polls to record their verdict on the question, making 39 states in all that will have acted by that date. Ratification conventions will be held in four states—-Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah—on December 5. Since this formal action will have been taken before that date in all but three of the necessary number of states, one of these four will in all probability be the 36th state to ratify, thus completing the process of taking prohibition out of the Constitution.

The repeal amendment becomes effective immediately upon ratification. Since the authority under which Congress legislated against the manufacture, transportation, and sale of liquor in the states will thereby be withdrawn, the regulatory sections of the Volstead act will automatically expire so far as they apply in the states, though they may remain in force, pending further congressional action, in the District of Columbia, the Panama Canal Zone, and the Virgin Islands. In Alaska and Hawaii local prohibition acts will probably still be effective, while prohibition may be, continued by the naval authorities in Guam and Samoa. Puerto Rico's prohibition law has been repealed, and that territory will be wet. The Philippine Islands have never been subject to American prohibition laws.

While there is a possibility that Congress will be summoned to Washington in advance of the regular January session, in order to revise taxes and tariffs on wines and liquors, the President has not yet indicated any intention of calling a special session. Certain emergency taxes imposed by the National Recovery Act will, under the terms of that law, be removed on January 1 by reason of previous repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, liquor taxes being counted upon to yield an equivalent or greater revenue. Since the revised imposts on liquor sales and imports will presumably be higher than those fixed by existing laws, the federal government will lose potential revenue until Congress has an opportunity to act upon new rates. The interim period between the prospective date of repeal and the time when a new law can be enacted in the normal course of events is so short, however, that the administration may be guided largely by political considerations in deciding whether or not to call a special session.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 21, 1984  America's New Temperance Movement
Nov. 03, 1943  Liquor Supply and Control
Oct. 04, 1933  Liquor Control after Repeal
Feb. 02, 1933  Preparations for Prohibition Repeal
Aug. 11, 1932  Prohibition After the 1932 Elections
May 16, 1932  Prohibition in the 1932 Conventions
Sep. 25, 1931  Economic Effects of Prohibition Repeal
Feb. 25, 1931  The States and the Prohibition Amendment
Jan. 26, 1931  Validity of the Eighteenth Amendment
Oct. 15, 1930  The Liquor Problem in Politics
Sep. 02, 1929  Reorganization of Prohibition Enforcement
Oct. 31, 1928  Social and Economic Effects of Prohibition
Aug. 07, 1928  Liquor Control in the United States
Apr. 23, 1927  The Prohibition Issue in National Politics
Jun. 05, 1926  Prohibition in the United States
Apr. 21, 1926  Prohibition in Foreign Countries
Jan. 15, 1924  Four Years Under the Eighteenth Amendment
Drug Abuse
U.S. Constitution