The traditionally dry southland observed the demise of national prohibition Tuesday with only a few legal "wet spots" showing in the otherwise vast legal desert of strict state prohibition laws.
Only in Louisiana in the south was a citizen able to order anything from beer to hard liquors. Liquor has been sold openly in Louisiana since November 7, when the last state voted for repeal.
South Carolina is officially dry but importation of a quart of liquor monthly is permitted to those applying to county judges. Tennessee also was dry as a law prohibits sale of liquor within four miles of a school.
In Virginia and Florida arrangements had been legally made to change the states arid condition. Elsewhere, however, it appeared that the drys would wage intense warfare to keep the majority of the southern states dry despite the demise of national prohibition.
The south, at one time the hope of the prohibitionists in stopping the parade of the repeal states, had aided in bringing about the end of the eighteenth amendment as the doctrine of states' rights, over which this section fought the War Between the States, was a factor in voting for repeal. But obtaining repeal in their own states is expected to be another matter.
Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia and Alabama have voted for repeal while North and South Carolina defeated repeal. After a state convention at Columbia, S.C., Monday placed South Carolina as the first and only state to vote against ratification of repeal, the drys met to made plans toward more vigorous enforcement of dry laws in their state. North Carolina will not hold a convention to formally reject repeal.
Officials in a few southern states have violation of liquor laws after Tuesday, but for the most part, state dry laws will be strictly enforced.
The liquor situation briefly in each southern state:
Alabama: Drys meeting at Birmingham Tuesday to map plans to retain the statutes which bar hard liquors and beer. A fight for state control of the sale of liquor is likely at the next legislative session in January, 1935. Some cities have "legalized" the sale of beer. Two of three federal judges have indicated liberalism in liquor cases but state officers will not show lenience.
Arkansas: Hard liquor banned by statute but question may come up if special session is called to pass on highway bond refunding measures. Beer is legal. Federal judges will prosecute under old liquor laws and state officers will enforce state bone dry law with no let-up.
Florida: Citizens will vote next November on repeal of the nineteenth amendment to the state constitution which bans hard liquors. However, in 1918, when prohibition went into effect, sixty-one of the state's sixty-seven counties had local dry laws and they will become effective upon modification of state constitution. Counties may hold special election to modify local laws next November when the state constitution is expected to be modified. Only seven convicted on liquor charges are in penitentiary. Beer is legal.
Georgia: Anything that smells, looks, or tastes like alcoholic liquors are out. Many cities, including Atlanta, have "licensed" the sale of beer despite the state law. State officers have winked at the sale of beer but will prosecute cases involving hard liquor.
Mississippi: Bone dry and no provisions are being made to change its dry laws. Mississippi, along with Georgia and Louisiana, did not vote on repeal of the eighteenth amendment.
Louisiana: Anything goes, with hard liquor having been sold openly during about the last month. Louisiana authorities and federal judges assumed a lenient attitude toward enforcement of the liquor laws.
North Carolina: Hard liquors are banned under the bone dry Turlington act of 1923, but 3.2 beer is legal. The large vote against repeal indicates nothing will be done to amending the Turlington act, although a fight may be made at the next regular legislative session. State courts will continue rigid enforcement of the state act.
South Carolina: Importation of a quart of liquor every month for medicinal purposes is permitted to those making applications to a probate judge, who receives a dime for every permit. The state, however, is officially dry and voted against repeal. Federal Judge H. H. Watkins last week at Anderson sentenced fifty violators of liquor laws to spend an hour in custody of the United States marshal.
Tennessee: Technically hard liquors are banned be statute and the permitting of liquor sales beyond four miles of a school means nothing. Beer is legal. There is no movement to change the dry laws, and state officers planning to enforce them.
Virginia: Citizens voted for state control of liquor and a control commission is now drafting a "package" act for presentation to the legislature convening in January. The state dry law is expected to be repealed with the fight centering around extent of control. Beer is legal.