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Dry States 2022

A dry state is a state where the manufacturing, distribution, importation, and sale of alcohol is illegal or very restricted. While no state in the United States is completely dry today, dry counties within the states still exist.

Before the 1920 prohibition, the United States passed laws that allowed a county or township the option to be dry. Maine was the first state to implement a statewide law prohibiting the production and sale of alcohol in 1851. Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts followed, bypassing their prohibition laws, and by 1913, nine states had statewide prohibition, and 31 others had local option laws.

On December 19, 1917, congress approved legislation to prohibit the manufacture, sale, transportation, and importation of alcoholic beverages. Mississippi was the first to ratify the Amendment in 1918, and Nebraska was the 36th state to do so, giving the Amendment the three-fourths majority from the states needed to pass it. Nationwide prohibition went into effect on January 17, 1920. After the 21st Amendment was passed to repeal the nationwide prohibition, it still allowed for prohibition under state or local laws.

Today, counties that allow alcohol are considered to be “wet,” those that prohibit the sale of alcohol are “dry,” and those that have special circumstances or are mixed are “moist.” Thirty-three states have laws in place to allow localities to prohibit the sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol. Many of these are in the South, and religious beliefs are often the motivation for continuing prohibition laws.

Some of the 33 states that permit localities to go dry have specific statewide circumstances. Arkansas has 34 dry counties out of its 75, and all alcohol sales are prohibited on Sundays. New Mexico is wet by default but is dry on Sundays until noon. Laws prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays are called blue laws. Kansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee are dry states by default, and counties must specifically authorize the sale of alcohol.

The 33 states that allow localities to go dry are:

Dry States 2022

State 2022 Pop.
Alabama4,949,697
Alaska720,763
Arkansas3,042,017
California39,664,128
Colorado5,961,083
Connecticut3,546,588
Delaware998,619
Florida22,177,997
Georgia10,936,299
Idaho1,896,652
Kansas2,919,179
Kentucky4,487,233
Louisiana4,616,106
Maine1,359,677
Massachusetts6,922,107
Michigan9,995,212
Minnesota5,739,781
Mississippi2,961,536
New Hampshire1,378,449
New Jersey8,870,685
New Mexico2,109,093
New York19,223,191
North Carolina10,807,491
Ohio11,727,377
Rhode Island1,062,583
South Dakota902,542
Tennessee7,001,803
Texas30,097,526
Vermont622,882
Washington7,887,965
West Virginia1,755,715
Wisconsin5,867,518

Dry States 2022

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