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Why Tennessee Liquor Laws Forces Older Folks to Present ID for Alcohol
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Why Tennessee Liquor Laws Forces Older Folks to Present ID for Alcohol

08.21.15
Over the past few years, Tennessee has become ground zero for new laws requiring universal carding for beer, wine and spirits.  Tennessee was the first state to require everyone to be carded for beer sales, which we blogged about here.  More recently, Tennessee passed a law that requires that all patrons must also present valid ID to purchase wine and spirits in liquor stores.

We blogged about who has to card here.

The exceptions to universal carding are pretty obscure and, in our humble opinion, not easy to find or understand by your average license holder, much less consumers.

Kid Rock not unsurprisingly weighs in:

couldn't wait to turn 21
To sit in the backyard sun and drink beer with dad


Drinking beer with dad
Out there on the back porch swinging
Drinking beer with dad
Picking my guitar and grinning


We'd hem and haw, we'd cuss and fight
But that's where I learned life's best advice








For retail liquor stores, here is the exception that was passed effective May 15, 2015:

SECTION 3. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 57-3-406(d)(1), is amended by deleting the language "the adult consumer" in the second sentence of the subdivision and substituting instead the language "the adult consumer whose physical appearance does not reasonably demonstrate an age of fifty (50) years or older".


SECTION 4. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 57-3-406(d)(1), is further amended by deleting the language "person" in the last sentence of the subdivision and substituting instead the language "person whose physical appearance does not reasonably demonstrate an age of fifty (50) years or older".


SECTION 5. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 57-3-808(a), is amended by deleting the period"." at the end of the subsection and substituting instead the following language:


; however, it is an exception to any criminal punishment or adverse administrative action, including license suspension or revocation, for a violation of this section if the sale was made to a person who is or reasonably appears to be over fifty (50) years of age and who failed to present an acceptable form of identification.




Rather that making it expressly legal not to card someone that has an ID that says the person is over 50 and the person looks over 50, the law eliminates criminal prosecution for selling to a 51 year old that presents an ID.

In our humble opinion, the legislature dodged the issue of carding elderly and regulars.  Although politically popular, universal carding is not without its faults.

For beer, the following was enacted a few years ago.  Like the retail liquor store exemption, it does not eliminate the carding requirement; it only decriminalizes the failure to card.

57-5-301.   (a)  (1)The permit holder or employee shall make a determination from the information presented whether the purchaser is an adult. In addition to the prohibition of making a sale to a minor, no sale of beer for off-premises consumption shall be made to a person who does not present such a document or other form of identification to the permit holder or any employee of the permit holder; however, it is an exception to any criminal punishment or adverse administrative action, including license suspension or revocation, as provided for a violation of this section if the sale was made to a person who is or reasonably appears to be over fifty (50) years of age and who failed to present an acceptable form of identification.

The concessions for older folks to not be required to show ID in Tennessee to purchase alcohol are pretty wimpy, in our humble opinion.  The law still requires you to card everyone, but if you fail to card some older folks, you cannot be criminally cited.

No wonder most places require everyone to show ID, including octogenarian.





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